Not sleeping yet

It is now more than twenty-four hours into the latest 72 hour ceasefire. This one is distinguished by the fact that there hasn’t been a single tseva adom here, and the big guns aren’t firing. There are several gun placements around us, and this is the first time since they got here they aren’t firing at all.

I can’t relax. It is almost 4am as I am typing this, and falling asleep so far hasn’t been an option.I have gotten some work done, got caught up on some things, the time isn’t wasted. Except that I need the sleep of course.

Youngest son hasn’t gone back to sleeping in his room yet, he doesn’t trust enough to be that far away from our ‘safe’ area, the hallway at the centre of the house. My daughter in the army – her life hasn’t gone back to ‘normal,’ and probably won’t for a while yet, whatever happens.

My older daughter here in Israel treats trauma victims – among other things – so she is one of the few people who work in the area who’s busier at this time than during more peaceful times. It’s pretty rough, and there isn’t anyone (as far as I know) who treats her — and she is living in Sderot, under at least as much direct fire as we are.

So all-in-all I’m not feeling all comfortable and relaxed. Obviously waiting and hoping and praying that the situation remains quiet and calm. Also waiting and hoping and praying for a real end to the state of living in fear of our lives constantly – rockets, mortars, people managing to sneak through the fence to commit terror attacks. These are things that we live with here even when we aren’t in the middle of a ‘war.’

There’s a threshold. I think anyone who lives here long enough senses it. One rocket, or two, or even two a day, doesn’t constitute a ‘war,’ it is just daily life here in the Gaza periphery. When the rockets step up, and it is several a day, more than ten a week, we start watching the skies, wondering if and/or when the government will do something to protect us, because it is no longer ‘just a couple of rockets.’

What kind of crazy is it that can say it’s just a couple of rockets, when any one of them can blow up a kindergarten full of children, and in fact that is just what they are trying to do? ‘Just a couple of rockets.’

‘Just a couple of rockets’ turns into ‘things are heating up at the border fence.’ A group of soldiers on patrol find an i.e.d., a bomb placed where it will injure or kill them – hopefully with their eyes, and not by it blowing up. I’m not saying that soldiers aren’t fair targets, in a war, I’m saying that this is the way it escalates. First the rockets. Then a bomb, or someone firing a mortar at some poor guy who is only trying to harvest his carrots, or watermelon, or sunflowers. Someone gets hurt. Perhaps the government makes a threatening statement. There are more rockets. Several in a day. We think twice about leaving the house, going shopping for food, getting ice cream. We don’t take the dogs for walks, or if we do they end as soon as there is a ‘boom,’ because the dog runs home as fast as her little legs can carry her.

It’s still not enough, though. We have to wait. We have to wait a week, two, three weeks, as the rocket attacks increase, as tensions grow and perhaps some poor old woman in Be’er Sheva or Ashkelon is injured or killed. By the grace of the almighty, no one on our moshav has been injured yet or killed, but it is simply the best possible luck. There are more rocket attacks, and perhaps the IDF send up some helicopter gun ships or planes to fire at the people launching rockets at us.

The level of rocket fire increases. The first Gazan casualties gives them free rein, and suddenly the rockets are raining down on Rishon L’Tzion, and Ashdod, and Beit Shemesh. This is an interesting sort of situation, in which the rocket fire on our little community slackens, and while the rest of the country is getting hit with one or two rockets at each location, our incoming rocket fire drops to one or two a day. I feel guilty about being grateful, and of course I know that a rocket in a city is going to do more damage, and endanger more people than anything here. But … for a day or two we get a bit of a break.

It doesn’t last.

And so it goes. By the time the IDF is mobilized, and the world notices that we are in a shooting war, we’ve already been being bombed for weeks, or maybe even months. We’ve already spent so much time worrying about the bombing and when and whether and IF we are going to get any protection – that the heavier rocket fire when the war starts is – well, it’s still really scary, but I know I breathe a little easier because at least we (Israel) are doing *something.*

There is a similar progressing when things ‘wind down.’ I can’t count which ‘cease fire’ this is. Fourth? Fifth? Like I wrote above, it is the first one in which the firing actually stopped. One or two rockets fired at our tiny little moshav don’t count apparently, as violating the ‘cease fire.’

So – I’m not complaining. I am grateful that it is actually quiet. I think I’m a bit jumpier waiting for the other shoe to drop is all.

It’s after 4am now. I am going to try to get some sleep. The problem with a 72-hour ceasefire? I only start to begin to relax by the time it is over, and then the shooting starts up again. A few rounds of that, and I start to think I will never be able to relax again.

Well, have a good night and sweet dreams.


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