Dodging death in a Sderot playground

"It's not OK that we have gotten used to it. No one should have to live like this."

By JOSH BRANNON
November 2, 2006 01:39
2 minute read.
sderot children kassam drill 298.88

kassam drill 298.88. (photo credit: Channel 10)

The Kassam rocket just cleared the apartment block before slamming into the Sderot playground, less than 15 meters from the jungle gym. A child was wounded and another four individuals were treated for shock in Tuesday afternoon's rocket attack that could have been much, much worse. "What a boom!!" exclaimed one boy, his lively black eyes opened wide with excitement as he gawked at the crater in his playground. The melting pot that is Sderot swirled around the impact area, with Moroccan grandmothers, Russian soldiers, and an Ethiopian cable installer marvelling at the sound made by the most recent rocket attack, and swapping stories about previous close calls. Dozens of teenagers with school bags shouted to each other and posed for cellphone photos in front of police sappers and a back-hoe working to pull the meter-long finned chunk of steel from the earth. "You see how we live? I don't need an alarm clock, because almost every day the Red Dawn (warning system) wakes me up," said Ura Meshayilov, 22, who was playing basketball at a nearby sports complex when he heard the all-too familiar sound of an explosion inside this blue-collar town. "It's not OK that we have gotten used to it. No one should have to live like this," Meshayilov said, shaking his head. "The IDF needs to go in with whole divisions they did in Lebanon," chimed in his teammate Robert Pessako, also 22. "What's the difference between us and Nahariya?" Nahariya, on Israel's northern coast, was targeted by Hizbullah Katyushas during the war. When told that the IDF had raided Beit Hanun and killed several Palestinian gunmen in a bid to quell the Kassam fire, the young men said simultaneously "evidently that's not enough." A sapper walked with the rocket remains to a police van with a throng of children on his heels, clambering to touch the remains and looking for bits of shrapnel to add to their collections. "We are playing by two separate rules. They launch rockets indiscriminately into our neighborhoods, and then we put our own soldiers at risk, sending them in there and telling them not to shoot if they think they may hit a civilian, while the terrorists shoot from behind them," said Pessako, recently released from army service, most of which was inside Gaza. "We need to switch off the electricity we supply to them and then lob artillery shells into the middle of their villages until the innocent civilians decide to leave or stop the terrorists themselves. Once they are out of the way, the IDF should then go in and wipe out the bad guys," Pessako said.


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