Shaul Amir

July Diary of an Israeli – Part 4

Shaul Amir
Shaul Amir

Friday July 25

Today was quieter. Only one siren in the morning. It looks like they are shooting less and trying to get to Ben Gurion airport in order to try to close our sky again. It looks more and more like the last jerks of a dying person.

After succeeding with the development of the Iron Dome and other anti-missile developments, our engineers are working on developing a tunnels digging detection system. No doubt they will find the solution and prepare ourselves for the next round. Meanwhile Israel’s condition for a humanitarian ceasefire is very simple. First you stop firing at our people, then we continue destroying the tunnels we discovered (some 35 of them) and then we will be willing to discuss other terms, such as demilitarization of Gaza, destruction of all the missiles and mortar bombs. We will be willing to help with humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, but this time under tight supervision as to where the money goes and how it’s spent.

Last but not least, help our effort to build our underground emergency hospital. We want to be ready and not sorry.

Shabbat Shalom to all of you and a quiet one for us.

Sunday July 27

Tonight was quiet in our area but not in the south where, despite the ceasefire, the Hamas kept on firing at the Israeli settlements along the border.

The humanitarian ceasefire which Israel agreed to extend for 24 hours in order to allow the uninvolved to stock some food and water for their holiest holiday which marks the end of the Ramadan, Id El Fitter, collapsed. Hamas kept on launching missiles and mortar bombs. Today, the ceasefire agreement paper presented to our Government by the US Secretary of State was revealed. Apparently, it did not address any of the security issues which face Israel nor did it address the whole question of the tunnels. Interrogation of some of the terrorists captured by our soldiers reveals a sinister plot by the Hamas which was supposed to be carried out in Rosh Hashanah, the holiest holiday of the year for the Jewish people.
They planned to use their tunnels and send 200 terrorists to simultaneously, invade several Kibbutzim, massacre as many men, women and children and kidnap as many as they can. All of it under the umbrella of missiles and mortar bombs from Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon designated to interrupt the assembly of our military forces in order to react.

Somehow all of this information escapes all the news agencies and different media means, which brings me to think that the world is waiting for pictures of dead children and innocent people on our side to balance the picture.

Well, I am very sorry to let them all know that we will not let that happen. We will not be led to the slaughter by agreements that will put us in harm’s way once again.

Last but not least, I want to thank all the people who donated money to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center for the building of the Underground Emergency Hospital. We would rather be prepared for the next round and not be sorry that we are not prepared. If you have not het donated (we are a 501(c)3 non for profit organization) please do!

Monday July 28

Yesterday afternoon, as I was walking to my car, I stumbled on a piece of metal. Looking down, I noticed it was a fragment from a rocket that must have fallen during the missiles attack at the end of the supposed ceasefire.
Today we are informed that there is a heavy pressure by President Obama on Israel to agree to immediate ceasefire without any conditions. It is so annoying that the US Administration does not see the once-in-a-lifetime shared interests opportunity and does not seize it.

Instead of siding with Qatar and Turkey, the Hamas supporters, they should have gone with the Saudis, Egyptians, Israelis and the Palestinians with Abu Mazen. Like an eclipse of the sun that comes and goes, so is this opportunity. Miss it, and you don’t know how long you have to wait for another opportunity. This time it looks like Kerry and Obama were blinded by the sun and dropped from the sky like Icarus who tried too hard to reach the sun and with the melting of the wax fell to the ground.

If I dare take another analogy, I see the whole question of ceasefire with the Hamas pretty much like the story of the frog and the scorpion. They will not be able to abide ‘cos it is not in their nature. They will fire (sting), and go down with the consequences.

Even though Israel yet again agreed to the Humanitarian ceasefire (quiet will be answered by quiet and fire will be answered by fire), the Hamas launched already a few missiles and mortar bombs onto Israel. I am not sure where the red line is.

I hope that this operation will end soon, that we will be given the opportunity to destroy all of the terror tunnels and through international pressure and much negotiation, demilitarize Gaza and build it back for its citizens. Is that too much to ask?

——

Today is not quieter anymore.

Hamas just launched a few mortar bombs on one of the Kibbutzim near Gaza killing three and wounding four. Earlier on (about 30 minutes) they tried to launch a missile into Israel from a site near Shiffa hospital. That launching failed, exploded and killed children and other bystanders. All of it during humanitarian ceasefire they requested. They will now blame Israel for their failure in launching this missile. Don’t believe anything you see on your networks.

Tuesday July 29

The Siren woke us up at 2:30 am. Another attempt to disrupt our life and get citizens killed, to no avail. We woke up in the morning to difficult and disturbing news. 10 soldiers lost their life in the last 24 hours. Five were killed defending Kibbutz Nachal Oz from terrorists who tried to invade the kibbutz via tunnel, an attempt that failed with very high cost; one soldier killed in a clash with 12 terrorists in the south of Gaza. He was killed while working on destroying a tunnel with a bulldozer he was operating. In this clash, 10 terrorists were killed and two captured. Four more soldiers killed during the “humanitarian” ceasefire requested by Hamas, by attack of mortar bombs on one of the assembly areas of our soldiers outside Gaza.

A couple of posts ago I wrote that it seems to me that in order to change some of the media and diplomatic points of view, they will need to receive their “pint of blood” from our side. Well, now they got it and low and behold, all of a sudden the US administration changes its tone and now understands that demilitarization of the terrorists has to come before any further negotiations can take place.

It is another sad day in Israel. We bury today 10 of our best. Ten more families will never be the same again. Grief cannot be measured and I am sure that the grief of uninvolved Palestinian families who lost their loved one is just as deep.

What can be measured is intent, while our intent is to protect our civilians and soldiers as much as possible; the intent of the Hamas terrorists to kill as many civilians as possible in Israel while using their civilians to protect them. This is why a whole country is in mourning when we bury our dead and they use their dear to incite their population for more sacrifice and death.

We are strong and united and will continue to be this way as long as it take to secure the life of the citizens of Israel in the future.

Wednesday July 30

It is now five pm in Israel. Two hours after the one-sided Israeli deceleration of a ceasefire in certain areas of Gaza. The ceasefire has been broken already eight times by the Hamas.

Today we have 14 wounded soldiers, three of them are mortally wounded. Yesterday the Hamas released a video they took while attacking one of our posts near Nachal Oz via one of the tunnels. Five soldiers died and when they tried to snatch one of the bodies for negotiation purposes, the only soldier that survived the attack shot at them and they left the body and ran, leaving one dead. This event is not occupying us as it was a blunder on the Israeli side.

The IDF is investigating it and the lessons are now implemented to make sure that it will not happen again. Yes we are not perfect but we learn from our mistakes. We continue to destroy the tunnels (over 32 discovered and over 20 already destroyed) and will not leave Gaza before all the tunnels are totally destroyed. The support for the continuation of the offensive is very high in Israel as it is felt that we can not afford to continue with the missiles situation raining on Israel nor can we risk a massacre of innocent by attacks through the tunnels.

Today we also learned (after interrogation of one of the 100 Hamas prisoners we have taken) that the Hamas sent some of their terrorists to Malaysia in 2010 to train them with Paragliders and attack a Kibbutz from the air. Only sinister minds can think of ways to kill indiscriminately just for the sake of killing. And the world is blaming us!!!!

Let’s pray that it will all be over sooner than later, providing we can secure our citizens for the foreseeable future.

———–

A short update. Three dead soldiers today (booby trapped house) and 27 wounded throughout the day. A difficult day in Israel. We are continuing our offensive to free Israel from threats. May all the soldiers come home safely.

————

I hope that this is the last status of the day.  The trapped building that collapsed and killed our three soldiers was a UNRWA clinic that was booby trapped by Hamas. Who will report it? UN will now complain that Israel is to blame.

Thursday July 31

This is the first post today. When I started with it, I was hoping that one post a day for a few days would suffice. Unfortunately the situation is so fluid that at times it takes more than one post a day and unfortunately it is more then just a few days. I apologize for “bombarding” you with posts but I feel that at times some of the people who read it are not getting the full picture and the small stories behind this war.

In this post is a story about yesterday’s tragedy with the collapse of the booby trapped UNRWA clinic in Dir Balach, which killed three of our soldiers and wounded 17. Apparently the soldiers entered the building after hearing children calling for help. As our soldiers are trained to care for uninvolved, they went to the building to save the kids and then the booby trap was detonated and buried them alive.

The second story has to do with the tunnel penetration near Kibbutz Nachal Oz two days ago. Five soldiers died in this incident. The Hamas terrorists were dressed in IDF uniforms and therefore the soldier who was guarding did not suspect them until it was too late. This is the same soldier that saved the day later, by killing one of the terrorists that tried to snatch a body of one of the dead soldiers which made the rest of them flee.

More to come later if things change here.

————

I hope that this is the last post for the month of July. I started writing it about an hour ago, as I was writing it, the news came over the TV that six people (not yet sure if soldiers or civilians at this stage) were wounded. Three severely and the other three not yet reported, probably moderate to severe. I stopped writing the post and came back to it now.

When I started the post an hour ago, I wanted to report that although we keep on clearing and destroying the tunnels we are improving our abilities and understanding of these new warfare methods. Only one soldier was lightly wounded in the fighting today. I pray that it will stay this way.

A rocket penetrated Iron Dome this afternoon and wounded a civilian severely in Kiryat Gat.

Another piece of information I came across today has to do with the US. Did you know, that Qatar signed an $11 billion dollar arms deal with the US? Somehow it gives me a different understanding as to why the US insists on Qatar’s involvement.

They are beginning to talk about a humanitarian ceasefire. At the government meeting today, Netanyahu said that ceasefire or not, we will keep on destroying the tunnels. Meanwhile the world’s opinion including the Pentagon and the White House are condemning Israel. We have to hope that we will be able to finish the destruction of the tunnels and pound the Hamas even more.

We hope for a quiet night. More to come tomorrow.

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About Shaul Amir

Shaul Amir has served two terms as Shaliach to the Denver area from Israel, the most recent combined with directing Allied Jewish Federation's Israel Center from 2002 to 2007. He and his wife Kika now live outside Tel Aviv and enjoy welcoming visitors from Colorado to Israel.

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