On the Scene in Beersheba Under Fire

HonestReporting’s Oded Ben-Josef went to Beersheba to see the results of Palestinian rocket attacks for himself. Here are some of his reflections.

The hundreds of thousands of southern Israel residents living just miles from the Gaza Strip – all within the Green Line, unlike their Palestinian neighbors, have rarely made the news.

This, despite a steady stream of Palestinian rockets disrupting their lives in recent years (peaking at 144 mortar and rocket attacks in April alone).

Come late August, however, an Israeli civilian was killed in last weekend’s barrage of Grad rockets from Gaza finally awaking some journalists from their stupor when it comes to reporting on Palestinian rocket fire.

Accompanying a group of journalists that went down south to report on the August 21 attack had not opened my eyes to anything new or hitherto unGoogled. It only re-emphasized the duality of life in Israel – live a normal life – but always be on the ready for a siren. Or visit a house struck by a Grad-type missile, which looks untouched at first, only gradually noticing the new décor.

The owner of the house, Meir Damari, thankfully, was not home when the Grad struck. Not so lucky was a passer-by, who tried to take cover there and was killed – Yossi Shushan, 38, from the nearby town of Ofakim, on his way to see his 9 months pregnant wife.

At the time, Damari himself was in hospital recovering from a heart attack, surrounded by visiting family. Returning to their shrapnel sprayed cottage, they found their beloved German

Steel pellet found at the site of the rocket attack. Thousands of these are mixed in the Grad warhead explosive to maximize collateral damage.

Shepherd, “Stav”, dead inside. “If only we’d released it outside [before the attack], it would have been saved – the dog always wailed and warned us when there were sirens,” says a tearful Meir, who remained at the house while his family returned to the hospital, this time to be treated for the anguish of seeing it all.

A neighbor told YNet News: “There isn’t a greater absurdity than the government’s response- they act only according to the number of dead, not the number of missiles fired or the feeling of terror they cause. As soon as Israel breaks this distorted, bloody equation, I promise you […] that our kids will return to regular lives free from fear.”

Except it’s not just the government – shouldn’t even the potential risk to hundreds of thousands from barrages of rockets be deemed worthy of media attention, even if the intentions of those firing them haven’t achieved the requisite number of casualties?










School sink and toilet stump blasted by Grad which entered from the roof