Gunmen in Beit Hanoun
Sderot residents leaving for Eilat
Photo: Amir Cohen
Defense Minister Amir Peretz
Photo: Niv Calderon
Pictures of Sderot residents leaving their town for Eilat Thursday instilled optimism among northern Gaza Strip gunmen, who continued firing rockets at Israel's south throughout the day.
The spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, Muhammad Abed al-Aal, better known as Abu Abir, told Ynet: "We are proud to see the residents of Sderot leaving town with their children and luggage, and advise everyone to evacuate."
Abu Abir also threatened that "soon, the rockets will start flying from the West Bank towns toward cities deep in enemy territory. We've vowed in the past that we will evacuate Sderot, and we will stand by our promise."
Abu Abir seemed unimpressed by Defense Minister Amir Peretz's threat to deliver "a painful blow to Gaza."
"It's nice to hear this little man threatening, but I advise him to concentrate on protecting his wife and daughter, because he can't even protect his bodyguard and the residents of Sderot. People more serious than Amir Peretz could not stop us from continuing our struggle," he declared.
Abu Abir, what have small children done wrong that they need to become hostages of this everlasting war?
And what have the children of Beit Hanoun done wrong? After Beit Hanoun we vowed that in this war we will act according to the principle of an eye for an eye. Just as Beit Hanoun was partly evacuated during the IDF's operation, we now witness the evacuation of Sderot, but I say to the people to Sderot: Leave now, as soon as possible, because worse things are still to come. We haven't started using all the means at our disposal yet.
But these methods have even caused groups that sympathize with the Palestinian struggle to turn against you.
It is as if the operation in Beit Hanoun and the massacre several days later happened thousands of years ago. It took place only yesterday, and the promise to strike Sderot still echoes among the ranks of the Palestinian organizations. In order to prove that we look after the innocents, we call on the residents of Sderot to evacuate.
Abu Abir asked to address a question to the Israeli public: "How many times did you hear your stupid leaders say, 'We will deliver this blow and that blow.' What have all these blows achieve? Ground invasions, a huge number of targeted killings and bombs by the tons. Did this lower the number of rockets by even one rocket? Did it cause any Palestinian faction to announce it will stop the fire? It only helps to increase the motivation."
"The Israelis, even the most ordinary citizens and not those condescending leaders, can see that as time goes by our rockets are becoming much more accurate and much more lethal. Anyone who talks about a painful blow and a large operation should know that we also have measures and much more painful plans. They've been talking about invading Gaza since before the disengagement. Why hasn't this been done?"
Is there a chance for calm and for an end to the fire?
This question should be directed to the Israelis. We are responding to the Israeli crimes, and if the Israelis think they can continue with this policy, we promise them that the balance will change. At the moment, the Israelis have proven their ability to threaten and we are proving in our responses that we will not surrender and that no weapon – as innovative as it may be – and that no defense minister – as mustachioed as he may be – frighten us.
We said during (former Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon's time that the best thing for him would be to safeguard his wife's grave, and we say the same to Amir Peretz: Protect your family, your daughter and your wife, because we are carrying on with the struggle.