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Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal: ‘My 24,000 Citizens Have Been Held Hostage By Qassam Rockets From Gaza’

Analyst David Essing: ‘Success Of Current IDF Operation Is A Test Case, One That Must Be Won’


The Negev town of Sderot is preparing to celebrate Simchat Torah, the ‘Rejoicing of the Torah’. Last week, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a salvo of Qassams into the town on the holiday of Succot, murdering small children and wounding many other civilians. Mayor Eli Moyal says his town has long been terrorized by the Palestinians who have fired some 400 rockets trying to kill and maim as many civilians as possible. David Essing has interviewed the Mayor of Sderot and analyzes the current situation in the midst of the IDF operation.

What do you call the random firing of 400 rockets at a defenseless town, 89 of which have hit every one of its neighborhoods? It is surely a blitz designed to terrorize the population. And what would be a ‘proportionate’ response?

Qassam Map

The 24,000 children, women and men of Sderot, have literally been held hostage by the Palestinian terrorists for many months. From less than a mile away, across the border in Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip, they have been launching their Qassam rockets into Sderot. It is only by chance that many more people have not been killed. After the latest deadly attack on Succot, the IDF launched a major operation to smash the terrorists and their infrastructure and to distance the Qassams from the range of the town.

All this comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Sharon’s decision to evacuate the Gaza Strip by the end of next year. Therefore, the ‘Days of Penitence’ operation is not just to halt the blitz of Sderot, it is also a test case for what is to happen further down the road, during Israel’s withdrawal and thereafter. Certainly, there can be no doubt the Palestinians’ goal is to continue the violence and bloodshed. During the first week of the IDF operation over 80 Palestinians have been killed, the IDF says most were armed terrorists and yes, innocent Palestinian children, women and men have been killed in the cross-fire.The IDF operation has been criticized by the European Union and others as being ‘disproportionate’. So, just what reaction would be considered ‘proportionate’ by these critics of Israel? (Let’s not get into Iraq, where coalition forces killed more than one hundred people in one day alone last week, or Chechnya, where the Russia’s bar the media.)

Would the European Union, for example consider it proportionate say, for Israel to launch 400 rockets at a defenseless Palestinian town? Or maybe just the 89 which actually landed in Sderot? But the critics would be quick to reply: ‘Oh, but Israel is a sovereign state and as such, must abide by international law whereas the Palestinians do not enjoy statehood’. The fact is the Palestinians could have had their own independent state already, if not through Oslo, then certainly by the two-state solution of U.S. President George W. Bush. All the Palestinians had to do was give up the violence and bloodshed and stop terrorizing towns like Sderot. However, clearly the Palestinians prefer to terrorize Israel rather than achieving ‘Palestine’. Or, if you like the other way around, the Palestinians chose not to have their own state in order to attack Israel. Therefore, Israel’s current campaign is one which must be won, for Sderot today; if not, the nearby Israeli towns of Ashdod and Ashkelon will eventually come under fire. And, the Palestinians will continue ‘recycling’ terrorism and refusing to accept Israel as an independent Jewish state.

David Essing

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