Things are Hotting Up (and I’m not talking about the weather)

03 Aug

It had been my intention to write a short post about the oppressive desert heat that’s hung over Israel the last week (‘only’ 37 °C today), but events dear readers, events…

Where else does a bit of road side tree trimming lead to a violent international incident?

The evening news here have just passed and we’re left to mull over yet another day of deadly incidents on yet another one of Israel’s vulnerable borders:

  • Friday: Rockets, fired by militants within Gaza, reached Ashkelon damaging a rehabilitation centre and numerous cars. Israel responded with the expected reprisal attacks killing a Hamas official and injuring dozens of others inside in Gaza.
  • Monday: Yet more rockets were fired towards Israel, this time presumably from within Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Some plunged harmlessly into the Red Sea, others overflew Israel’s premier tourist resort of Eilat landing in empty fields; one rocket, however, struck an innocent taxi driver in the neighbouring city of Aqaba, Jordan.
  • Tuesday: An Israeli army incursion into Lebanese territory, a planned Lebanese ambush or a fatal misunderstanding – either way you wish to lay the blame 4 soldiers (3 Lebanese and 1 Israeli) along with a Lebanese journalist lost their lives today in the most violent incident in four years on the Israeli-Lebanon border.

All we need now is for an incident to happen here in Jerusalem or the West Bank tomorrow and we’ll have a full house of fatal incidents on all four of Israel’s volatile borders.

To the untrained eye this ever-increasing escalation of rocket attacks, retaliation assaults, and border skirmishes may seem to mark the beginning of yet another round of major hostilities. I am not sure how this latest incident will be perceived outside Israel but back here it’s taken with the typical sense of perspective. Whilst the rhetoric over the next few days will undoubtedly be full of accusations and counter-accusations it’s pretty clear these were 3 separate non-related incidents with neither side wishing for an escalation in violence – at least for now. If for nothing else, it’s so incredibly hot right you can’t imagine who in their right mind would have the energy to go running about about provoking each other into another regional war.

I guess I have been fortunate enough to have spent my last 10 months in Israel in a state of relative peace*, but of course at the back of your mind is the what if…? To be honest, here in Jerusalem it’s less of a concern as we’re still out of  range of rockets from Gaza, Lebanon and Sinai; and with the separation wall separating mainland Israel from most of the West Bank along with security improvements in the West Bank the likelihood of terrorist attacks through that route are now as remote as ever.

So to conclude, no need to worry for now…

Anyway back to the heat. We’re expecting temperatures to peak over the 40°C this weekend so I’ll have plenty more opportunities to write about the heat this summer.

* Naturally whilst I have been living peacefully here in West Jerusalem it goes without saying that millions of Palestinians a mere kilometre away continue to live under less than peaceful conditions…

1 Comment

Posted by on August 3, 2010 in The Middle East Conflict


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One response to “Things are Hotting Up (and I’m not talking about the weather)

  1. Seb

    August 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Hey Thomas! Thanks for your comment on Ditte’s blog. I had completely forgotten that you have a blog yourself. Great reading! It is now bookmarked with Martha and Vincenzo’s and Aaron’s.

    I hope you are surviving the heatwave. Here it is bucketing down most of the time and the sun rarely shines but at least it’s lush and green… Anyway, I am off to sunny (hopefully) Denmark for the week-end. I had never been separated from Iluka for more than a few days and they have been gone for two weeks already: it is way too long! Are you planning to come for a visit in Europe anytime soon? I am looking forward to seeing you again and to meeting Asya.


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