Sderot, Israel — The radical Islamic organization Hamas continued throughout today, Tuesday, with its barrage of rockets into Israel. The number of Hamas missiles fired today reached over 140, murdering 18-year-old Israeli soldier Yosef Partuk and Israeli Bedouin civilian Alayaan Salem al-Nabari in southern Israel.
Southern Israeli cities and towns are experiencing heavy rocket attacks. In the city of Ashdod, Hamas rocket fire caused light injuries to seven people and caused the destruction of a grocery store. The residents of Sderot, a small Israeli town located less than a mile from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, express skepticism that the international community can negotiate with Hamas. Pnina Buhbut, a mother and resident of Sderot whose front yard was hit with a Qassam rocket today, tells me that “Hamas is terrorism, and not a government.“ Her distrust of Hamas as a negotiating partner is patently justifiable. Yet the Arab world, in addition to the Swiss government and many other countries, continue to legitimize Hamas.
She said “this situation is not new,” adding, “we have lived this [a life of rocket attacks] for 12 years.” Since Israel started Operation Pillar of Defense last week to halt Hamas’s missile fire, she spends the nights with her husband and two small children, ages seven and one-and-a-half , in a small concrete shelter room designed to withstand Hamas rocket attacks.
As we inspected the damage to her home (thankfully, there were no injuries to the inhabitants), the city’s sirens went off, and family members and this journalist had to run into the shelter in the back of the house. I was later told by a security expert in the area that the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted the rocket. “Every day there is a Kassam from Gaza,” said Pnina. “All the children live with trauma.“
The qassam shattered the windows of her house, sending shrapnel into her front door. Her living-room furniture was punctured with broken glass from the windows due to the intensity of the explosion. Pnina stressed the importance of wanting to live in a terror-free and anxiety-free Sderot, reminding me that “the Arabs have 22 countries” of their own. She added that the international community must know what the residents were experiencing because of Hamas terrorism.
Yet American allies and partners such as Turkey and Egypt continue to take the side of Hamas terrorists. The AP’s Matthew Lee drilled the State Department yesterday about its failure to criticize the Turkish president’s labeling Israel of engaging in acts of terrorism.
It is a fair complaint. In short, when will the Obama administration stand up to Turkey, Qatar, and Egypt, to name just a few of the countries that defend and aid one of the world’s leading anti-American and anti-Israel terror organizations, the Iranian-backed Hamas?
— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.