The rocket attacks on southern Israel must be stopped. Period. Whatever else happens, this must be the priority. No excuses permitted. No exceptions allowed.
I know that the political situation is sensitive, and the new Egyptian leadership must be handled with care. I am sure that Israel’s diplomats are doing their best.
Nonetheless, with rockets again falling on Sderot and surrounding areas, I have a sinking feeling that the terrible days of instability, fear, and disruption are returning. They never entirely ceased, but there was a respite for a while. And it was easy to push from our minds the dreadful price that the residents of Sderot had to pay for so many years. Lest we forget: the children of the city were traumatized, often were unable to go to school, and frequently were unable to sleep at night. They wet their beds. They learned – at age 3, 4, and 5 – to race to shelters located near their playgrounds when the sirens were heard.
Zionism came into being so that Jewish children in a sovereign Jewish state would not be subjected to physical attack from enemies outside of their borders. Rockets falling on the children of Sderot undermine the foundations of Zionism. The purpose of those attacks, of course, is clear: to force evacuation, first of Sderot, and then Ashkelon, and then maybe even Tel Aviv.
Israel fought a war – a messy, ugly war, leading to much death and destruction – because it had to bring those attacks to an end. And it is at least possible that the war might have been avoided if there had been a more forceful response during the years of rocket attacks prior to 2008.
I am on the dovish side of the political spectrum. I am deeply committed to a two-state solution. I believe that Israel should pursue every possible diplomatic avenue to advance the cause of peace and to engage with Palestinians who are moderately inclined.
But Hamas is not in this category, and I cannot forget those children in Sderot and the purpose for which the Jewish state came into being. The politics may be complicated, and Israel’s diplomats may be challenged, but surely we all agree on this: the rockets must be stopped and the children must be able to play—freely, openly, undisturbed.