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Rocket fire increases. Qassam in Sderot (archive)
Photo: AFP
The night that the lights went out in Beit Hanoun?
Photo: AFP
Sderot residents: Cutting electricity won't stop Qassams
Residents of rocket-battered city waiting to see if defense minister will go through with his threats to cut off power to Gaza
After experiencing a particularly harsh barrage of rockets and mortars Thursday, Sderot residents have their eyes on the lights of the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun to see if Defense Minister Ehud Barak will carry out his threat to cut electricity to the coastal strip in response to continuing rocket and mortar fire.

 

Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal said that he was "happy that the government is trying, because we live with the feeling that they are not trying, and we need to try this step as well. The government apparently also understands that the response (to the rocket and mortar fire) up until now has been restricted. If (cutting off power) doesn't work, we need to try other things."

 

"I hope the government continues to look for ways to combat the rockets," he added.

 

However not all residents of the beleaguered city believe the government's promises, and most do not believe that Gaza's lights will go out.

 

"I am sure that there won’t be darkness in Gaza. I remember how workers at the electric company used to switch off the power to protest, but we notify the Palestinians that we're going to cut the electricity, if we want to do this we should just do it without warning them just like that don't tell us when they are going to fire at us," Sasson Sarah, head of the parents' committee in the city said.

 

Alon Davidi, head of Sderot task force, is also not so sure that a power cutoff will be effective in curbing Qassam rocket attacks on the Gaza periphery community.

 

"Barak's decision is a mockery and an attempt to throw sand in the face of Sderot residents and Israeli citizens. Power outages are a good way for unions to demonstrate for better work conditions, but in the war against terrorism they are ineffective and a demonstration of weakness," Davidi said.

 

Most Sderot residents are not satisfied with punitive measures against Gaza residents and are more interesting in see a military response to the unceasing rocket and mortar attacks that are disrupting their day-to-day lives.

 

The majority of those in Sderot are finding it difficult to have a positive outlook on their situation.

 

"Shutting off the power is a move to calm (Minister of Strategic Affairs) Avigdor Lieberman, not residents of Sderot, we're not threatening to leave—quite the opposite, we're staying here.

 

"Maybe as a gesture we'll donate a couple hundred emergency light bulbs to the Palestinians for Lierberman and Abu Mazen," Rina Mor-Yosef, a resident of the besieged city, said sarcastically.

 

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