Life again turned even more difficult for the embattled people of Gaza a few days ago. Everyone has heard about Israel's tightening of border controls, and about the temporary shutdown of Gaza's power plant. But looking at the news, shovels and flashlights have been needed to excavate some of the most important information about Gaza's latest crisis. It is impossible to understand what is happening in Gaza without having the full story.
Much of the news coverage has carefully concealed that, as many in the Arab world point out, responsibility for the current crisis lies squarely on the shoulders of Hamas, the extremist organization that runs Gaza.
While news about the suffering of Gazans fills the airwaves, there is a peculiar disinterest in the nightmare that is life for the people of Sderot. Sderot is the Israeli town near the Gaza border where every day activities have become an excruciating version of Russian Roulette. Palestinians have launched some 7,000 rockets into Sderot and its surroundings areas in recent years. The attacks intensified after Israel handed all of Gaza to Palestinians in 2005, and became even worse after Hamas took over the territory last summer. Every day, every few hours, the sirens wail their warning, giving terrified parents and teachers and children less than 15 seconds to take cover. The rockets are deliberately aimed at civilians. They have fallen on schools and day care centers. A recent study found that 56 percent of the population have had their houses hit by rockets or shrapnel. More than 90 percent say their street or an adjacent one has been hit, and almost 50 percent know someone who was killed in such an attack.