- Posted November 15, 2012 by
Eshkol Region, Western Negev, Israel
Pillar of Defense: Life on “Pause”
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
Here’s how it all began – yesterday afternoon (was it only yesterday?) Around 4 p.m. the news stations started announcing a “surgical attack” that took out Jabari - the man who was considered to be the Hamas’ Chief of Staff, and had more than a little blood on his hands. I have become used to different noises, and different announcements – but when you live here, in Israel and especially on the border with the Gaza Strip, you get used to the slight nuances that hint at a different level of escalation altogether. When newsflashes break into regular programing, when you start getting text messages cancelling children’s afternoon clubs and activities, and when you hear that they have given all this activity a NAME…. now THAT is a REALLY bad sign!
As soon as I got a sense of which way the wind was blowing with this, I told my daughter not to come home – rather to get out of missile range. I then rushed over to bring her dog (to add to my menagerie) and get back to the house, ready to brace myself for the unknown (certainly: the “unpleasant”). My safe room is always ready and welcoming to provide safe respite – but in this case, I populate it even further: laptop, water bottle, cable to recharge phone, lipbalm , Rescue Remedy (for one of the dogs who is especially skittish).
Not long after, we were all sent to our safe rooms. My community is situated less than 2 kms, from the border of the Gaza Strip, and the time that we have to respond to the “Red Alert” warning is less than 15 seconds. That is, providing any warning comes. Shorter range missiles have no early-warning system – just the explosion, itself.
Since then, I have spent the time mostly in the safe room – watching the reports on TV, on the Internet, and interacting with other people in this area on a Facebook group: “Life on the border with Gaza – things people may not know (but should)”, where we are all busy writing about our lives here, reading others’ depictions, giving encouragement and when possible, making each other laugh. I went to sleep around midnight – was woken a few times by distant explosions – and was called upon to deal with a dog whose needs had to be seen to at 2 a.m.! (The animals also have their equilibrium thrown.)
With the morning, came the reality that I would not be going to work, and yet – having the day at home I could potentially get a lot achieved. However, when you are waiting between alarms, trying to work up the nerve to make a cup of coffee (Challenge #1) have a shower (Challenge #2) and take the dogs for their walk (Challenge #3) it is not easy to concentrate on anything else. The most urgent need was caffeine….. between landings, that took about 15 minutes to achieve. The dogs got a mini walk (just slipped out to the lawn and let them do what they needed) and a better one was postponed for later. The shower was abandoned….. (it is 15:00 and I am still trying to work myself up to that – because Murphey’s Law being what it is, as soon as I am under the water in my birthday suit (and most likely all soaped up) there will be another alarm.
And so, these are the challenges of the lives of those who live on the border of the Gaza Strip today – and for who-knows-how-long? Some – especially those with children – choose to leave for safer pastures for now.
Me? I’m staying put, and hoping for the best.