Imagine these headlines:
"England Evacuating Towns Because of V-2 Rocket Strikes"
"British Industry Paralyzed by Rocket Strikes"
"British Prepare major Cities for Rocket Strikes"
"US Urges Britain to Exercise Restraint in Responding to V-2 Strikes."
Since the start of the Blitz, 90 percent of industries in Eastern Britain have reported a drastic decrease in the number of customers, suppliers and service providers who have come to the factories.
They are unimaginable. At the height of the Blitz, Churchill announced to cheering crowds that there would be no letup in the retaliatory bombing of German civilian targets. Yet the US did not urge Britain not to contribute to the cycle of violence. On the contrary.
In Israel, the Blitz is repeating itself in miniature. The same constant terror, the same fear, the same disruption of daily life. It has gone on for months. Towns are being evacuated. Major cities are threatened:
...police are taking steps to prepare for a Qassam strike on the southern city of Ashkelon.
Qassam fire in recent days has cost NIS 65 million in damage to industry
Eight hundred Sderot residents had been evacuated by the Defense Ministry earlier on Thursday to facilities run by the Association for Soldiers' Welfare in the area.
The US State Department insisted on allowing participation of the Hamas in Palestinian elections. They probably played a major role in encouraging Israeli disengagement from Gaza, and discouraging proper security measures. They are in large part responsible for the current mess. They have this to say:
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack urged restraint on all sides
What would you do if rockets were falling on your city? Just a few. Maybe thirty a day. Little tiny rockets that could only kill your kid or leave you without a leg. How would you feel if Sean McCormack urged restraint on you?
and ask them to stop asking Israel to do the impossible.
Please get the vaunted "Israel lobby" and the supposedly high-powered AIPAC to do something to actually help Israel.
By Haim Bior and Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies
The southern district police commander said on Friday that police are taking steps to prepare for a Qassam strike on the southern city of Ashkelon. Commander Uri Bar-Lev said that police have been placed on high alert in Ashkelon and have expanded their presence in the city and in communities near the Gaza Strip.
Three Sderot residents were lightly wounded and several people were treated for shock Friday morning when a Qassam rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza hit a residential building in the Negev town.
The rocket was one of at least nine to hit the western Negev on Friday. Another rocket caused a fire in a field in Sha'ar Hanegev.
The rocket fire intensified this week, sparking an Israel Defense Forces operation in the Gaza Strip that began Thursday.
Palestinians fired some 30 rockets on Israel on Thursday, and about the same number on Tuesday. One of the rockets fired Thursday slammed into a high school on the outskirts of Sderot, lightly wounding two people. Two others were wounded Tuesday, one of them in moderate to serious condition.
Hamas' military wing has announced that it will execute anyone who attempts to interfere with the rocket fire on Israel, Israel Radio reported Friday.
Manufacturers: Qassam fire costs industry NIS 65m
Qassam fire in recent days has cost NIS 65 million in damage to industry in Sderot and the western Negev, the Manufacturers Association of Israel said Thursday.
Some 85 percent of the 40 large factories operating in the western Negev are suffering from employee absences since last week's increased hostilities, according to Yehuda Segev, the director general of the Manufacturers Association.
Some 150 workers have abandoned their workplaces this week, Segev said.
"If there is no improvement in the security situation in the Western Negev, the number of workers abandoning [their workplaces] will increase significantly at the beginning of next week, since additional workers and their families left Sderot this weekend to spend time somewhere safer. Most likely, they will not return to work on Sunday," said Segev.
He added that according to an association survey, 92 percent of industrial factories in the area have reported that they are unable to hire temporary employees to replace their regular workers who have left. Twenty-five percent of the industries have moved their offices to safer regions, and 25 percent have also said that they have seen a drop in local orders.
Since the middle of 2006, 90 percent of industries in Sderot and the Western Negev area have reported a drastic decrease in the number of customers, suppliers and service providers who have come to the factories.
"The government is marching confidantly toward the second Winograd Committee report concerning its failures in dealing with the future of industrial areas in Sderot and Sha'ar Hanegev," claimed Segev. The cabinet must define the Sderot and Western Negev region as "confrontation line" areas, as the North was defined during the Second Lebanon War.
This would allow workers in the region to be granted tax breaks. In addition the government must allocate NIS 50 million for protection of the factories to allow the 5,000 employees to work in a safe environment without having to miss work.
Defense Min. halts evacuation of Sderot after 2,500 leave city
The Defense Ministry on Thursday halted the evacuation of the western Negev city of Sderot after some 2,500 of its residents had already left the city.
Eight hundred Sderot residents had been evacuated by the Defense Ministry earlier on Thursday to facilities run by the Association for Soldiers' Welfare in the area. However, the evacuation was later halted due to the large number of residents demanding accommodations and low availability.
Dozens of Sderot residents stormed the office of Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal after learning the evacuation had been cut short, demanding action to protect them.
In addition to the 800 residents evacuated by the state, Russian-born Israeli businessman Arcadi Gaydamak also provided some 1,600 residents with hotel rooms in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva, which he personally funded.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Sderot on Thursday and told residents of the border town that the government would stand firm and work to reduce the Qassam attacks.
Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisin said the prime minister told Sderot residents during a visit lasting several hours that "we have to stand strong" and pledged government help. But, as Israel mounted a series of air strikes and a ground raid in Gaza, Olmert made no comment on operational specifics, she said.
Also meeting relatives of some of those injured in recent days was Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who himself lives in Sderot.
"The prime minister ... expressed his empathy and how much he and the government are there for the people of Sderot," Eisin said, adding that two rockets had landed during the visit.
"He talked about the fact that we have to stand strong," she said. "That we have to get down the amount of attacks."
Olmert has opposed evacuating Sderot, Peretz' home town, where one rocket slammed into a house near the defense minister's own on Wednesday. Peretz has proposed that sizable numbers of residents be brought out of the city for a "break" from the rocket attacks, which have continued sporadically for the last five years.
Many families also left the city on their own accord to stay with friends or relatives in other cities. Schools in the city were closed Thursday for the second day in a row.
In response to increasing Qassam attacks on Sderot, the Defense Ministry has implemented two command centers in the town. It has deployed over one hundred soldiers whose task is to go from door to door, checking if residents require assistance.
Dozens of welfare services workers have also been sent to verify the condition of the town's 2,300 elderly citizens, 350 disabled people and 80people with intellectual disabilities who are known to the bureau.
Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh said the systems put in place Thursday were prepared seven months ago, during the last bout of concentrated rocket attacks on the town. They were not applied at the time because the attacks waned.
Sneh denied that the measures have been implemented as a response to the evacuation funded by Arcadi Gaydamak.
Approximately 320 elderly and disabled citizens were evacuated by welfare services. A further 75 disabled people and their families were evacuated to hotels in Arad, in Israel's south, for a three-day holiday financed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Around 150 elderly citizens were evacuated to two hotels in Jerusalem, and the families of 20 intellectually disabled residents were accommodated in Jaffa Community Center for one week funded by the National Association for the Habilitation of the Mentally Handicapped in Israel.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack urged restraint on all sides but said Israel had the right to respond to rocket attacks from Hamas.