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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Living With Terrorisms: A Personal Experience

Nadene Goldfoot
I lived in Israel from 1980 to the very end of 1985. My first lesson was how to live with terrorism. The first time I saw a loaf of bread outside on the patio of the building I was living in was a surprise. It wasn't wrapped; just a loaf of bread sitting there. I wanted to pick it up and put it in the garbage can, but nearby friends screamed at me not to pick it up, but to leave it. It could contain a bomb! Was I ever surprised. Then my friends went in and called the bomb squad. People have to be extremely careful of everything.

I went shopping in the Hadar area of Haifa. There was a bakery box on the ground, possibly containing cookies. Again, I saw the bomb squad come with a robot that shot the box when the crowd was far enough away. That was to do away with any possible bomb inside the box.

When we went into any store, there was always someone at the door that had to search our bags and purses, just in case. At the door of the junior high that I taught at sat several students whose job it was to search all people entering.

What a surprise I had when I moved into my apartment building in Safed. I had the ground floor apartment, and it had black bars on the windows to prevent terrorists from entering! It was a small window in our living room, too. I was thankful to get this apartment as I had easy access to the patio outside where I had clothes lines. There were many nights that I had nightmares of terrorists breaking in, breaking those bars.

At the school we had bomb drills, and a bomb shelter. In fact, all apartment buldings had bomb shelters. Safed was in the Northern Galilee and very close to Lebanon, as all of Israel is very close to someplace dangerous, so the country has to be protective. Just a few years ago Safed was shelled in the Lebanon-Israel War and many building were damaged. My neighbors wrote to me about their experience. Nearby was a school and a graveyard filled with students from a terrorist attack on the school! It seems that terrorists like to attack women and children especially. I remember a day when the school showed the community all of the containers that are used to conceal bombs of some sort or other. Big or small, every manufactured container was used. As soon as children start toddling around, they have to be taught not to pick a thing up outside.

Not only stores and schools have to check out people, but Israel's borders have checkpoints where people are entering. On November 2, 2002, a van with boxes of jeans wanted to go through. Soldiers found that one of the men inside was wanted. Soldiers found in the last searched box an explosive belt being delivered to a suicide bomber.

Two weeks later, a taxi was found two very heavy computers and inside again were explosive belts, plus a bag with a gun.

On June 8, 2008, an 18 year old Palestinian was arrested at the Hawara checkkpoint near Nablus because he was carrying 6 pipe bombs, an ammunition cartridge and bullets, and a bag of gunpowder. The military police said that it was routine for them to find bombs every day. They also find knives and other weapons. Three weeks earlier they arrested a Palestinians carrying 5 pipe bombs that he had on his chest to act as an explosives belt.

As recently as October 5, 2008, two pipe bombs were found in a package that a Palestinian man at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus was carrying.

Anti-Israel propaganda is trying to make a case that Israeli soldiers are harassing Palestinians at checkpoints. Soldiers are not trying to harass, only trying to do their job. At one checkpoint north of Jerusalem, a Palestinian woman pushing a baby stroller was found to have concealed in it a pistol, 2 ammunition clips and a knife. On another occasion a woman was hiding her brother's gun in her underpants. Another woman hid a hand grenade under her baby!

Everytime our soldiers relax their policy and leave checkpoints, terrorists take advantage to launch more attacks on Israeli citizens, so it's necessary. The campaign of violence and terror that the Palestinians continue against Israelis causes checkpoints to exist. The goal is protection, not humiliation of Palestinians.

Reference: Mitchell Bard M&F #310 Does Israeli Use Checkpoints to Deny Palestinians Their Rights?
My experiences in Israel

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