On April 16th 2001 the first Hamas-orchestrated rocket attack from Gaza took place. In the eleven years since then, the one million civilians living within the range of fire have suffered over 12,700 additional rocket and mortar attacks. Forty four people have been killed and over 1,600 injured.
An estimated 55% of the residents of the southern Israeli town of Sderot – located less than a mile from the Gaza Strip – have suffered either physical or mental injury as a result of the rocket attacks. 86% of children between the ages of 12 and 14 suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. One in 24 of the town’s residents receive psychiatric care due to trauma stemming from the attacks.
When the ‘Colour Red’ warning of an incoming rocket sounds, Sderot’s residents have 15 seconds in which to take cover in one of the town’s fortified bus stops, fortified schools, fortified playgrounds or in the nearest air-raid shelter or safe room.
At intermittent junctures throughout the past eleven years, the UN has “urged” Hamas to stop firing rockets and called the attacks “unacceptable“. The EU has occasionally “condemned” them and Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have defined the rocket attacks on civilians as war crimes.
And yet, despite these platitudes, UN bodies host Hamas representatives and the EU allows various Hamas-linked lobbying groups to operate on its premises and take its MEPs on trips to Gaza. European MEPs have even participated in Hamas-run anti-Israel publicity stunts and the European Parliament was quick to endorse the Goldstone Report which managed to largely avoid dealing with the highly significant aspect of Operation Cast Lead which is Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians. Amnesty International, meanwhile, continues its flirtation with the most hard-core of Hamas supporters.
It is often said that no other country besides Israel would put up with 12,700 rocket attacks on its civilians and that may very well be true. Eleven years on, there are now thousands of Israeli children who have never known life without the 15 second run to the nearest bomb-shelter as part of their daily routine.
The UN, EU and Human Rights community bodies which aid and abet the mainstreaming of extremism and terror by collaborating with Hamas and its supporters are ensuring that many more Israeli children will have their lives shattered too.