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Vice Premier Shimon Peres
Photo: Hagai Aharon
No Qassams in Peres-land
Sorry, Mr. Peres, but barrage of Qassams is good reason for hysteria
Out in Peres-land, residents have woken up to another blissful day of optimistic news. News editors, not wanting to frighten listeners, don't report the fact that several missiles have hit a school in a forlorn city in the south. A few children have been hurt, several suffered shock and will require extensive psychological counseling.

 

But residents of the town themselves, wanting to prevent unnecessary panic, chose to remain silent, rather than vent their pain to the country at large. The government of Peres-land has rubbed their hands together with satisfaction. Aahhh, what a well-functioning country we have. Model citizenry and media. Just like it was with Ben-Gurion.

 

Don't get so excited

 

Good morning, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres (perhaps the greeting "Red Dawn" would be more appropriate in this case). Monday, in the presence of six of the country's most influential political reporters, you uttered the following words: "This hysteria over the Qassams must end… "We're just adding to the hysteria. What happened? Kiryat Shmona was shelled for years. What, there weren't missiles?"

 

The next morning, you were already on the radio complaining that you'd been misunderstood. Once again, you've been taken out of context. You really meant, "Only the media is hysterical, and a small number of Sderot residents are making a lot of noise."

 

No comparison

 

Let's spend a minute talking about your claims. True, Kiryat Shmona suffered shelling attacks for years, and drew Israel into a blood-soaked war that took the lives of hundreds of soldiers. But what, exactly, has this got to do with Sderot?

 

Now for the media and Sderot residents. It is the job of both of these groups to arouse your lazy government to action. Hundreds of rockets have hit this town, Mr. Peres. It is a legitimate reason for hysteria.

 

Hysteria about the fact that the government has failed to protect its citizens. We may not be talking about the high-class suburb of Ramat Aviv where you live, but allow me to assume that if as much as one stray rock fell there, the rock-thrower would be "done away with" immediately.

 

But you know, it's just Sderot we're talking about, a forlorn "southern" town. It's easy to forget it's just an hour from Tel Aviv.

 

Learning from London

 

In your imagination, Mr. Peres, Sderot residents must learn from their counterparts in London during the Nazi blitzkrieg during World War II. A "stiff upper lip," it's called.

 

But residents of London had no choice. They knew their government, headed by Winston Churchill, was fighting and making every military effort to ensure Britain's continued existence. Churchill may have called for Britons' "blood, sweat and tears," but he also waged war with all the weapons at his disposal.

 

But you, Mr. Peres, you politicians have thrown little more than empty promises, with the exception of the occasional bomb against civilians – that have helped fan the flames.

 

Pre-planned response?

 

Suddenly, we are left with the feeling that maybe, just maybe, the issue here has nothing to do with government failure, not even with its failure to defend the residents of Sderot.

 

Could it be that the whole exercise was planned from the beginning, with the intention of building support for the "realignment" plan? That very same, fantastic one-sided plan (we are now seeing the benefits of that plan's predecessor), based on the idea that "there is no one to talk with."

 

As long as we refuse to talk, we will have Qassams, we will resume targeted killings, and we will create a situation of ongoing warfare.

 

Saving realignment

 

But if we stop, things between the two sides will disintegrate. If we let Mahmoud Abbas "solve" the problem of Hamas (as he has tried to do via the referendum and other political tricks), pay attention to what the world has been telling us in recent weeks (like ignorant children) and focus on setting stable, quiet borders around Gaza – the realignment will become damaged goods that nobody wants.

 

Seems to me, Mr. Peres, that this is exactly what you are hoping for. That you, too, think "realignment" is but one more "scribble," part spin and part outrageous dream, based on the principle of "I'll make my own decisions and carry them out. Let the other guys jump off a cliff."

 

In the meanwhile, the only thing jumping are the paramedics in Sderot. That, and the neat IDF statistics about the number of Qassams falling on the city.

 

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