Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Target Practice for Tel Aviv


A few years ago, I was on a hilltop in Samaria with other young religious Zionists to help build a playground for Jewish children with the help of the settlers there. We worked three full days.

"Every shovel-full is a mitzvah!" we had yelled to each other to keep our spirits up as we toiled on that hilltop, digging out rocks and slipping in mud in the rain, with our hand tools, our blisters, and our high spirits. When we had finished that project, we felt a bit like we had fought a battle, reclaiming a small part of Israel with our hands and our hearts.

Many of us were scared up there. A hilltop is a dangerous place, an exposed place, a windy place, a rocky and almost inhabitable place. And we were there for a few days -- no time at all compared to those settlers who live every day on the hilltops. So why do they live there? The settlers of that hilltop and all the hilltops around are not up there for the view, and they are certainly not there for the rocky infertile soil ? They are there for the strategic importance of the hill.

It was on that hill in Samaria, with the cold wind of Israel on my face, that I learned the most valuable lesson I could learn about the fight to keep Eretz Israel: every hilltop is important. From that particular hilltop, the tallest in the area, I could see for miles and miles around. I could see how vulnerable the villages and towns of Israel could become if a terrorist were to gain access to that hill. From that hill, terrorist's rockets could be fired, terrorist strategy could be planned, and the country of Israel could be easily attacked, G-d forbid.

The settlers know that if they don't have the hilltops, then the Arabs will. The settlers are on hilltops because they love Israel, because they love the people of Israel, because they feel that Israel is so important that they must protect the land at every moment-- even with their homes, their families, and their lives.

Why was Livnat Ozeri, widow of terror victim Nati Ozeri, and her five children still on the top of Hill 26, in Kiryat Arba, even after her husband had been killed by terrorists? Because she was protecting the hilltop.

She wasn't there because she couldn't leave, she was there because she wouldn't leave.

She and her family were protecting that hilltop for the benefit of the people of Israel. Her husband died protecting that hilltop for the same reason. Livnat Ozeri is a warrior, her children are warriors, and the hilltop youth around her are warriors-- the protectors of Israel.

Without those hilltop settlers, the hilltops would be abandoned to the Arabs, and the country of Israel would be in grave danger from the threat of attack.

Jewish settlers of Judea and Samaria and Gaza risk their lives every day to protect the hilltops of Israel from those who would harm us, from those who would destroy us. Every one of them deserve to be praised every day, every hour, and every moment that they refuse to move. Every moment they stand for Israel.

If we abandon Judea and Samaria, this rocket attack will be daily, hourly.

Palestinians claim rocket fired from West Bank
Israel prepared to evacuate strategic territory in peace agreement

Posted: January 2, 2008
3:53 p.m. Eastern

© 2008

As Israel prepares to withdraw from the West Bank, Palestinian terrorists claim they fired a rocket into the Jewish state from the West Bank city of Yabed, near Jenin.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorist group called WND to take credit for attacking the Israeli community of Shaked. Rocket firings from the West Bank are rare, with nearly all coming from Gaza, which Israel evacuated in the summer of 2006.

The terrorist source said the rocket was a Qassam, which has been renamed the Enunciation I. Qassams are improvised steel rockets, about four feet long, filled with explosives and fuel. They can travel between one and four miles depending on the sophistication of the particular rocket

Al Aqsa claims the rocket landed in Shaked, but an Israel Defense Forces official told WND they were not aware of any rocket attack.

However, the IDF in the past several months has denied claimed rockets attacks only to later release select information stating some missiles indeed had been fired from northern Samaria.

Judea and Samaria is also commonly called the West Bank.

Security analysts contend publicity about terror groups' current missile capabilities in the territories could generate criticism of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria, which is within rocket firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel's international airport.

As WND reported in July 2006, Abu Oudai, a chief rocket coordinator for the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Judea and Samaria, claimed major Israeli cities and the country's international airport would eventually become Palestinian rocket targets, particularly following Olmert's planned withdrawal.

Abu Oudai said his group has the ability to produce rockets in northern Samaria – a claim that was denied by the Israeli army. He hinted at possible help in developing rockets from Iran, Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.

"Our goal is to cover all Israeli regions and to bring them inside the distance of our rockets," said Abu Oudai, speaking from Nablus in northern Samaria.

"Every Israeli site or city is inside our capabilities, and if some sites are not yet, they will be very soon. The Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem – every site –and city will be targeted. We are speaking about a new era in the conflict between us and the enemy."

Security officials at the time said the 2006 missile attack opened a whole new front of rocket targets against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and against neighboring cities, including Jerusalem.

Two days after that attack, Palestinian terror groups claimed they carried out another rocket attack from northern Samaria.

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