(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
The child hydrotherapy rehabilitation center adjoining Sderot’s Sapir Academic
College provides therapy and workshops for specialneeds children who live in the
western Negev and is used by children from the entire country.
Saturday night, an upgraded Kassam rocket scored a direct hit on the ceiling of
The Kassam hit not far from where Sapir student Roni Yechiah
was killed on February 27, 2008.
The attack followed the explosion of a
Iranian Grad missile that hit the city of Ashkelon on Friday morning.
are approaching a total of 400 rocket attacks launched from Gaza since the
cease-fire that halted Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in January
Palestinians from Hamas controlled Gaza have targeted Ashkelon, with
a population of 125,000 Israelis, since March 2008.
A film crew from our
Sderot Media Center arrived a few hours after Saturday’s attack, where an IDF
Home Front Command officer was assessing the damage.
As the crew filmed,
a childcare worker arrived at the destroyed office. She was overwhelmed by the
She walked through the rubble that had been her office and,
looking through the mess, she picked up a photo of her two children that had
been hanging on the wall.
Had the rocket struck on any other day, it
would have been a catastrophe, killing and wounding the children at the center.
During the week the center is open until 10 p.m. and is packed with hundreds of
children and therapists.
Because there were no casualties the attack has
not remained in the headlines for very long. In the eyes of the media and the
public, again, because there were no causalities, it was of little importance.
The incident came at the height of summer vacation, when weather reports on the
expected high temperatures across the nation take precedence over the lethal
missiles raining down on southern Israel.
But had there been children at
this rehabilitation center during the Kassam strike, and had lives been lost,
the IDF might have had no choice but to reenter Gaza, and we might then have
witnessed the firing of thousands of upgraded missiles capable of reaching Tel
Israeli intelligence confirms that Hamas has assembled an arsenal
of thousands of missiles including many with a range of 40
Yet until there is a human catastrophe that would seemingly
justify an appropriate military response, Israel continues to supply the Hamas
regime in Gaza with humanitarian aid, as well as the bills and coins it needs to
maintain its enterprise.
It is common knowledge that everyday items such
as fertilizer are used to manufacture fuel for Kassam rockets.
intended for civilian reconstruction is instead used to build and reinforce
bunkers and tunnels.
Metal intended for water pipes and streetlight poles
ends up in the rocketmanufacturing facilities managed by
Furthermore, Israel provides Gaza with electricity, water and
sewerage, and has built the power plants in Ashkelon that provide over 70
percent of Gaza’s electricity, which have been a favorite target of Palestinian
Ignoring these facts about Hamas, the world holds Israel
totally responsible for the Gazan population of 1.4 million.
years ago, Israel withdrew its key military and civilian presence from Gaza,
giving land for the hope of peace – something that no other democracy in modern
history has done.The writer is a photojournalist, lecturer and
founder/director of Sderot Media Center (http://www.sderotmedia.or g.il/). He
has conducted briefings and tours for government officials, diplomats, foreign
press, and students from around the world.