Summer holidays in Israel…writes Michael Kuttner

July 25, 2014 by Michael Kuttner
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Israeli children are spending their summer vacation within sprinting distance of safe rooms and air raid shelters.

Instead of enjoying outdoor activities (which in many cases still are possible) and summer camps, they have either been confined to the house or nearby so that when the sirens blast forth they are able to reach safety in time.

 Three of our exhausted grandchildren fast asleep in their safe room in their home which is about 10 minutes by car from Ashkelon.

Three of our exhausted grandchildren fast asleep in their safe room in their home which is about 10 minutes by car from Ashkelon.

However it is during the night hours when sleep becomes impossible or when the whole family has to crowd into a confined space that stress and trauma can easily take hold. It has become a daily challenge for families to cope with these challenges and yet maintain some sort of normal life. In addition many families have fathers called up to Gaza and working mothers have somehow to juggle the logistical consequences. This is putting an enormous strain on all concerned. Older houses and apartment buildings do not necessarily have safe rooms and entire families have to take refuge in  stairwells  where they may have to spend the better part of the night. Instead of having to wake up several times during the night children in particular may sleep permanently in the safe rooms which hopefully means that they might even sleep through multiple alarms and thus get a decent night’s sleep, even if their parents do not.

The contrast between civilian protection in Israel and the complete lack of these facilities in Gaza (or anywhere in the Palestinian Authority administered areas) is stark and therefore many people question why this should be. The answer of course is very simple. Whereas Israel has spent millions on protecting its citizens from rocket, missile and air attacks, those firing these projectiles at us have other more pressing priorities. Despite millions in aid being poured into Gaza and the Hamas/Fatah Palestinian Arab Authority (which these days is one and the same entity) the lack of accountability has meant that instead of this aid being used for improving living conditions, building clinics, hospitals, schools and industries, it has rather been diverted for building an infrastructure intended for terror against Israel. Thus, we have seen the diversion of building material and resources into the digging of sophisticated tunnels for the purpose of launching murder and terror. We have seen this money being used for the acquisition and manufacture of rockets and other weapons for one purpose only. Hamas, the terror group which was elected by a majority if Gazans, has in turn taken the population of Gaza as hostages and human shields while at the same time glorifying jihad and martyrdom. The protection of their citizens does not even feature in their agenda because they know that the more innocent martyrs they can produce for the world media the greater the condemnation of Israel which will follow.

Their cynical manipulation of the media is a winner because the media is only too willing to fall for these tricks. Storing rockets in UNRWA schools and facilities, firing from houses, Mosques, schools and other civilian places and the placement of command bunkers in hospitals is all part of their total lack of concern for the safety and welfare of the local population. In an ideal situation there should be no need for safe rooms at all. However we are living in a part of the world where those surrounding us are so far removed from any normal civilized behavior we have no alternative.

The death of innocents is dreadful and painful. Those plotting terror, murder and mayhem and who have a total disregard for human life bear the ultimate responsibility for their insane actions. We, who embrace life and democracy, have nothing to be ashamed of as we struggle to overcome the evil tsunami of hate now battering us on a daily basis.


One Response to “Summer holidays in Israel…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. john bowen says:

    Dear Michael
    It is not right that your grandchildren should have to live like this.
    However your article ignores the elephant in the room.
    Gaza is a giant refugee camp.
    The people there were forcibly expelled from their homeland so that your people could come from Europe, America, Australia or wherever they were before.
    You have the right of return.
    The native people don’t.
    If you were in their shoes what would you be doing?

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