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Living in fear is not an option

September 16, 2009

Kassam rockets had made life impossible in the towns around Gaza. Israel is a relatively small country. Almost 15% of the population lives around Gaza. They were living in fear. The Palestinians would fire these Chinese/Iranian contraptions that proved lethal many a times. Many Israeli’s lost their lives. Towns like Sderot have these bunkers or shelters built where the people would rush inside as soon as the siren went off warning the people of another Kassam rocket strike. The Israeli military uses their radars to track these ridiculous attacks and warn the citizens of the coming rocket with the wailing of a siren, people then rush to the nearest shelter wait for the rocket to land and then come out and carry on with their lives. Kids cannot play out in the open and many are petrified all the time. This went on for some time.  The Israeli’s kept on telling the world of their problem and how their right to live in peace was being ignored by the world. The world listened but kept quite. Hamas guerrillas kept on firing these lethal contraptions from their hideouts in the Gaza.  In 2008 the situation became untenable. GlobalSecurity.org made the following observation:

The year 2008 saw a dramatic increase in the extent of HAMAS rocket fire and mortar attacks on Israel, with a total of 3,278 rockets and mortar shells landing in Israeli territory (1,750 rockets and 1,528 mortar shells). These numbers are double those of 2007 and 2006, years which marked a five-fold increase over prior years. There was also a significant increase in the number of Israeli residents exposed to rocket fire. Prior to 2008, the city of Sderot (about 20,000 residents) as well as villages around the Gaza Strip were the main targets of rocket fire and mortar shelling. In 2008, the cities of Ashkelon and Netivot came under attack by Grad artillery rockets with a range of about 20 kilometers. Later, during Operation Cast Lead, Ashdod, Beersheba, and other cities were attacked by a previously un-identified rocket with a range of 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip. This rocket created a new reality in which nearly one million Israeli residents [about 15 percent of the entire population] were at risk.

The Israeli army and the defense forces studied the trajectory of these missile attacks and pinpointed the sources from where they were being fired from. They then made a plan to attack Gaza and destroy the source of these attackers. Israel had decided that they shall not live in fear. They took punitive action. By the end of 2008, Israel launched their military operations. It went on for more than two weeks. Anti-Semitic lobby the world over shrieked in horror. It is true that innocent women and children were also a victim of these attacks. More than 1400 Palestinians lost their lives. More than a dozen Israeli soldiers were also killed. Large parts of Gaza lay in ruins. Gaza was not a pretty sight. Israel had decided that they shall not tolerate any attacks on its citizens and that was that. The collateral damage in kids losing their lives was the sad part of the story. However, the Kassam attacks did subside. The bad news is that intermittent attacks still carry on. The Hamas guerrillas, as is their wont moved behind human shield in the form of civilian population. It is a sad situation from the Palestinian civilian’s point of view who are in the line of fire. Be as it may, any country has a right to live in peace.  People criticize Israel for their high handedness but were any other people in the same position as them they would also react similarly. Which society can accept rockets raining all the time, a life of fear?

There is an exception of course. It is us Indians. There is a report in the BBC (Indian media has not carried it) that says that the Indian prime minister has admitted that the Indian state is losing its war against the Maoists. This is a ridiculous statement. For when has the state really got down to fighting the Maoists anyway? In Andhra Pradesh the YSR government resolved to clear the state of the Maoists and succeeded.  The Maoists had started in AP and that is where they are no more to be found. The reality is that Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has joined hands with the Maoists and were she able to throw out the Communist government from the Writer’s Building it will be with the help of these Leftist ultras. And Mamta is an ally of the ruling Congress whose prime minister goes on to tell the police officers that the Indian state is losing its battle against the Maoists. This is an untenable situation. One of your allies is courting these anti-nationals and the CEO of the state glibly concedes that the state can do little against these anti-nationals. The state has not even got down to tackling Leftist terror and has conceded defeat? And when Lal Krishna Advani says that Manmohan Singh is the weakest prime minister in the history of modern India there is a furor.  I know that Advani said that with reference to the prime minister having to rush to Sonia Gandhi before taking all decisions big and small, but the prime minister has proved himself to be weak in more ways than one. Can a country as vast as India kneel down in front of these Left terrorists whose agenda is being set by their masters across the border from the north? There are enemies within and they are more dangerous than those obvious ones that the world knows of. The situation becomes murkier when the so called secular parties led by the shrill Left conglomeration refuse to acknowledge that these Maoist ultras are a threat to the national security. No media both electronic and print cares to ask these self appointed ambassadors of peace and harmony as to what they think of their ideological brothers the Maoists. The Left has only now in muted terms started to criticize the Maoists but even then only perfunctorily. When there are such ‘liberals’ within the society there is little chance for the nation to be able to get up and fight the menace that is threatening the unity and integrity of the country.

The American government has issued an advisory to its citizen’s visiting India to be careful as there is a chance of a series of terrorist attacks here in India. The Indian government has failed to react. I am sure the intelligence agencies are doing their job and there has been a big haul of explosives from the Indo-Pak border. But the fact that there is a possibility of a terror strike must be conveyed to the public here in India. I agree that there is a chance that any such warning may lead to a hysterical reaction from the people but that will be better than being caught unawares. There needs to be a greater resolve among the people and the government to fight terror. There was this sentiment of zero tolerance to terror after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. But then things began to fall back to the old ways again. Indians have short memories. We need to show greater resolve and commitment to make sure India is not targeted again and again. We need to take the fight to the enemy camp. We cannot wait for the enemy to strike us before we respond. In today’s warfare, if we have such lackadaisical attitude we will be sitting ducks.

Israel realized that while they had been able to destroy most of the terror infrastructure of Hamas, the Kassams still strike their territory and the sirens still go off and the people have to rush to the bunkers to save themselves. They have concluded that till the leadership of the terrorist organizations is eliminated such attacks will continue. Guess what they are planning to do next?

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