For the first time in two years rockets have failed to fall in Sderot for a record consecutive twenty-four hours, causing an eerie, almost deathly silence to envelop the once lively border town.
The shock to the remaining citizens was considerable and dozens were treated by medics for trauma. More than a dozen were hospitalized for further treatment. David Cohen, Head of Sderot Emergency Services, told ISL that the situation, although frightening at first, is under control, "Using the public address system and the so-called "buddy network" we managed to convey to the residents of the city that there is really nothing to worry about – most likely it is just a short respite in the bombings and nothing more."
Freddy Vaknin, a lifetime resident of Sderot said that the situation is unbearable, "I'm used to hearing the rockets fall every few hours. The tension of not hearing them come, and not trying to escape death constantly is just killing me. I have a heart condition and the doctor already told me that I can't handle the stress caused by sudden, unexpected changes in my routine.
Other residents have been hit economically by the sudden cessation of hostilities. One of them is Motti, who organizes one of the largest betting operations in town, "People here will wager on anything – when the Kassam will fall, and where it will fall and even how many people will get hurt or killed. Last week one of the guys hit the jackpot and won fifty thousand NS, which he blew immediately on extra armor for his house and car."
Like many other residents Motti doesn't know what will happen to him if the situation continues to deteriorate, "If the Kassam will not fall again tomorrow and for a few more days after that – my business will be ruined. I'll have to go back to work and god knows if I will be able to. I don't think I can even remember how to do my job," Motti said wistfully, "It's been such a long time."
Despite the new hardship which has struck the long-suffering town, Israeli government officials expressed satisfaction at the new development, "This just goes to show that using force is stupid," said the MoD Ehud Barak, "Hamas tried to lure us into launching massive ground operations and relentless air strikes to stop the shelling of our towns and defend our citizen's lives and properties," Barak said, " But we understood that it was an obvious ploy to make us look bad in world public opinion.
"Fortunately for the country,
we refused to take the bait, and here we are, two years later – and guess what – we won!! We undermined their resolve, pushed aside their odious ambitions, pounded them into the ground! And all this we did by sitting on our hands and doing nothing," Barak explained.
The Ministry of Defense will issue all soldiers who participated in the efforts to not defend Sderot a special badge of valor, "As a former soldier I know how difficult it is to stand by and do nothing when the enemy is destroying your home, killing your loved ones and disrupting your life constantly," Barak said, "So, this badge is a token of the country's appreciation for our soldiers, in honor of the courage and bravery and sheer heroism they never displayed in this long, hard, bitterly-contested war they never fought.
"Victory is sweet," said Barak, lighting a cigar in his air-conditioned office, 300 feet under the ground in an undisclosed location in Tel Aviv, "And I am happy for the residents of Sderot that they can finally crawl out of their partially reinforced homes and walk the streets of their battered city in complete safety, confident that the government and especially the victorious Israeli army, headed by myself, will be there to protect them as always," Barak said.
"I would be glad to join them on this happy day," added Barak, "But just to be on the safe side, I think I'll stay right where I am for another year… or two…or three..."