Today is the day that Palestinians call Naksa Day. The day that commemorates another tragedy in their narrative: the day Israel recaptured the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem (in a defensive war, but I don’t want to take this down the “Political Road”… it is what it is…..).
Today is a day that I have to go to Tel Aviv for work, meaning that I drive to the train station in Sderot, leave my car there and take the train for the hour’s journey to the Big Orange. I’m due to return home to the border in the late afternoon: “kite flying time” in our neighborhood. Although train service has been disrupted a few times recently because of fires that threatened the tracks, and the fields near the station have been set alight by incendiary kites, I park where I find a spot one slightly distanced from the adjacent brush, I woman-up and get on the train.
Originally it was announced that today, for Naksa Day, there would be lots of demonstrations near the fence, although reports also say that since this Friday is the last Friday in Ramadan, the Hamas protest organizers are “saving it” for then.
Any instance of these “March of Return” protests (mistakenly described as “peaceful protests” by all sorts of publications such as “Democracy Now” and others, written by people who obviously live in Lala Land … ro wherever… at any rate NOT here in the Gaza Envelope) usually include tire-burning protesters, whipped into a frenzy by their leaders. (Ironically, I hear on the car radio as I am driving, that today is World Environment Day. The black smoke from the tires and the burning fields make it kind of clear that not everyone gives a hoot about that.) Protesters usually try to damage and breach the fence, throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers, planting booby traps near the fence and even shooting. While the IDF use crowd control methods on the thousands of incited people, desperate and angry about their hopeless lives in Gaza, turning their fury against the fences rather than their leaders who have lead them there, sometimes, when it gets really out of hand with burning tires turning the air thick and black, rubber bullets and even live ammunition are used in order to prevent thousands from breaching the border – because if that were to happen, a massacre would be practically unavoidable. And that’s when protesters get wounded or killed. And that’s when the rockets start again.
At any case, as a person who lives here and travels here, I have to admit that I am just a wee bit concerned about this trip today. I will NOT change my plans (as I sometimes have – when my instincts and reactions to the winds of change have caused me to cancel travelling). Because every time I do that, terror wins. Because THAT is the target of terror. THAT is what the Hamas are trying to do – to make Israelis afraid in our own land.
Having said that, I will be quite relieved when I am back home tonight, safe and sound.
Life on the border with the Gaza Strip – just thought you’d want to know.