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Stand in The Shoes of a Sderot Resident - Where Are The Peacemakers?

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If you try to stand in the shoes of a Sderot resident for a sort time, that will probably be long enough to hear the explosion of a grad missile close by. Even if it didn't hit you, there is a good chance you will be traumatized by it.

Palestinian "leaders" paint Palestinians as the forever victims of the Middle East. They care much more about removing all Israelis from the area than they care about their own people. Hamas seems to have hurt more Palestinians than Israel has. The absentee Palestinian hierarchy's negotiation tools of choice are bombs, suicide vests, and their all-time favorite, rockets.

Hamas and other radical groups in Gaza prefer firing rockets to talking. Fatah, the supposedly moderate Palestinian group in the West Bank, often says one thing in english and the complete opposite in arabic. Fatah teaches schoolchildren to hate Israelis, by teaching the kids lies and by honoring suicide bombers and telling the kids what great role models they are.

The pace of new rocket attacks from Gaza has started to pick up again, after a relative lull. This is probably because more Iranian rockets are coming through the tunnels from Egypt now.

Western media reports, when they even bother to mention the rockets, will say rockets were fired, but there were no casualties.

Noam Bedein, Director of The Sderot Media Center, issued a call this week, to mainstream media, from the citizens of Sderot. Bedein is concerned that media don't understand anything about the psychological damage done by the rockets. Ignoring the mental and structural damage makes the situation less urgent, and when Israel responds, it makes the response seem disproportionate.

The Israelis haven't helped the situation, either. Their unilateral pullout from Gaza, under the previous government just left them exposed to closer rocket fire. Periods of inaction after rocket fire just told their oponents to keep pounding away. Lack of response to bad PR campaigns allowed ridiculous claims to gain traction and lack of response to the Fatah forked tongue has allowed Fatah to grow stronger - often with Israeli help.

Allowing more building, without consultation and a PR campaign hasn't helped either. Israelis are smart people, but you wouldn't think so after seeing so many strange missteps.

US President Obama, who many thought would be a major change from George Bush, seems to have forgotten he ever said he would exit wars and make negotiation the way forward. His Nobel Peace prize, long forgotten, is now gathering dust. Very quick to step into the conflict in Libya, and pursue regime change, the US has done little for Sudan, Camp Ashraf (in Iraq), Iran, Syria and Israel/Gaza.

Instead, Obama just wags his finger at old friends and threatens them, while extending an open palm to enemies, who, seeing weakness, don't reciprocate. This is a formula for turning strength into weakness and destroying your negotiating edge.

With the mainstream media minimizing the effect of rockets fired into Israel and ignoring the ongoing civilian deaths in Sudan, the US administration has sufficient cover to ignore those conflicts. Either Hope and Change didn't mean what we thought it meant or perhaps Obama has discovered that you can talk all you like, but some situations are so sticky that talking only works from a position of strength, which has now been reduced, if not lost. US strength had already taken a beating under President Bush, and the downward slide seems to be continuing at a faster rate with President Obama.

Here is the message From Noam Bedein, Director of The Sderot Media Center, to the mainstream media:

We ask you respectfully to change the way you report the continued rocket fire on Israel from Gaza.

The latest statistics from Natal, the organization dealing with post-traumatic stress, show that 70% of the children of Sderot suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress two and a half years after the Cast Lead Operation and a full third of Sderot's residents feel constant post-traumatic anxiety.

Seven rockets, missiles and mortars have been launched from Gaza towards the western Negev's communities over the last few days.

The disproportional coverage of these rocket launchings and explosions is found in a dry, terse report on mainstream media that takes a few seconds of news time. The issue is barely mentioned by the msm, who state (luckily so far) only that there were no injuries and no damage to property. That is not really the case, as anyone who lives in constant dread of the next missile knows well.

We at the Sderot Media Center urge you to emphasize these strikes more emphatically, to describe them as illegitimate and criminal examples of warfare against innocent civilians. Otherwise, what the media are aiding unintentionally is tacit acceptance of Islamic extremist terror against innocent civilians.

We ask that you change your reports to the following:

1. If there are no injuries, it is important to stress that there were no physical injuries reported. There surely are mental injuries, even though we will not let the terrorists change our lives.

2. It is crucial to mention each time how many rockets have been launched against Israel since the last ceasefire of January 18, 2009.

As of today July 15th 2011, there have been 788 rocket launchings from Gaza aimed at the southern residents of Israel. This has to be brought home again and again so the world will know.

We have decided to write this open letter to all the mainstream media and ask for a change in awareness of the significance and after-effects of this constant bombardment of people trying to live normal lives in an area that has never been disputed even by the UN, that is, unless the very existence of the State of Israel is in dispute.

This short video shows a large group of children playing in Sderot, when incoming rockets ruin their day.

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* The views of Opinion writers do not necessarily reflect the views of NewsBlaze

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