Report from Israel’s Border with Gaza
While the Israeli cabinet deliberates whether to expand its current assault on the Gaza Strip, The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky traveled to the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. She reports on the barrage of rockets various militant groups inside the strip have been firing on Israeli population centers, and on the intensified bombardment campaign from the air and sea of the Strip.
LIA TARACHANSKY, TRNN CORRESPONDENT: For a week, Israeli aerial and naval bombardments shook Gaza.
NEWS PRESENTER, RT: More than 800 Gazans have been injured, and the health care system is struggling to keep up.
TARACHANSKY: On Sunday, July 13, the Israeli government informed residents in the northern Strip that they must evacuate for an enhanced bombardment campaign. Thousands left their home in the besieged Strip, but many had nowhere to go, as Gaza is 45 kilometers long and is home to nearly 2 million people.
While the Israeli cabinet was gathered to continue deliberating whether or not to begin a ground invasion, The Real News traveled to the border with Gaza–the closest an Israeli can get to the Strip. But as soon as we left the Tel Aviv city center, we were stopped on the highway by a siren, indicating a rocket was launched from Gaza in our direction.
TARACHANSKY: There’s the explosion.
UNIDENTIFIED (SEVERAL): Whoa!
UNIDENTIFIED: That was really close.
UNIDENTIFIED: There’s another one.
TARACHANSKY (SUBTITLED TRANSL.) Are you okay?
WOMAN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I can’t reach my kids to check if they’re okay.
ARMY RADIO (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Anyone who knows Gaza well knows how in the last 14 years their rocket range increased from one kilometer to more than one hundred. So don’t be surprised if it reaches two hundred. That’s all I can say about that.
As for the operational aspects, we see that the wheel continues to turn. Another escalation is clearly on the horizon. Currently the Israeli Air Force intends to increase aerial bombardment.
TARACHANSKY: Intensifying of bombardment in the coming hour.
ARMY RADIO: I think we’re getting closer to a ground invasion, however limited it may be.
TARACHANSKY: We’re preparing for a ground invasion.
ARMY RADIO: And another battery is being delivered to the Iron Dome [antimissile system]. These are great news. But remember, from the moment it gets to the Air Force, they still need to test it and so on.
So from our perspective as citizens, the results of this [war] are good. No casualties [in Israel], and no [meaningful] damage.
TARACHANSKY: It says, “Instructions. Number one, please listen to the red alert, or if you hear anything explode, then enter this protected shelter–
TEXT ON SCREEN: Bomb shelter in Sderot, by Gaza border.
TARACHANSKY: “–and stand beyond the yellow line. After five minutes you can come out if you are not instructed otherwise. Ministry of Defense.”
UNIDENTIFIED: I can smell the piss coming out of it.
UNIDENTIFIED: Yeah, it’s disgusting.
TARACHANSKY: It’s going to be an interesting walk.
UNIDENTIFIED: Is this a yellow line [of urine?]?
TARACHANSKY: No, this is the yellow line.
UNIDENTIFIED: Oh, shit.
TEXT ON SCREEN: [Red alert in the field]
ARMY RADIO (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Tonight! Germany versus Argentina in the finals!
TARACHANSKY: I wonder if this gas station has a shelter.
TARACHANSKY: I’m Lia–.
UNIDENTIFIED: It was that way. It’s less far.
UNIDENTIFIED: It’s over in Gaza.
TARACHANSKY: I’m Lia Tarachansky with The Real News on the border with the Gaza Strip here in Israel. Today, a rocket fell in a gas station just like this, but just ten kilometers north of us, leading to one serious–one person being seriously injured and the entire destruction of everything that was in that gas station. Thankfully, all the Israelis who were there ran to a shelter.
As we’ve been driving here along the Gaza Strip shortly after the cabinet approved an escalation in the bombardment on the Gaza Strip exactly four kilometers west of us, we’re seeing here in this gas station where soldiers gather to rest in between their trainings that people are not too worried.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Army Radio field truck.
TARACHANSKY: Of course, if a missile falls into a place like this, it could cause serious damage. And the workers here at the gas station say that they have their own automatic alarm system, and whenever they hear it saying “code red, code red”, they run to the bomb shelter in the office. There’s also an app called Code Red (Seva Adom) which you can download, which informs you of where the rockets are falling and where the alarms are going off. But in my experience here over the last six days as rockets have been falling in all areas of Israel, the alarms tend to go off at the exact same time as the rockets actually fall, not being very useful.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Sign: Soldiers get 20% discount here.
TARACHANSKY: The numbers this morning is that 167 Palestinians died in the Gaza Strip in over 1,400 bombardments in the last six days by the Israeli Air Force and the naval forces. Last night, the special unit 13 entered Gaza in the first ground incursion into the Strip, leading to four soldiers being lightly wounded. This is going to be a signal of whether today the cabinet will decide to actually increase this operation to a ground invasion. Here in Israel, there are two people in critical conditions, zero fatalities.
Here on the border with Gaza, journalists have gathered in a group. One of the producers informed me that the footage of helicopters firing may be a bombardment of Gaza and may be little rockets shot around Israeli Air Force attackers in order to protect them from any missiles and RPGs that might be fired against them.
As soon as the sun will set, the Iftar dinner that ends the fasting of Ramadan will take place, and then rockets will resume against Israel.
In the background you see Kibbutz Aza and the Gaza Strip.
We’re seeing smoke rising over three locations in the Gaza Strip. Another bombardment.
TARACHANSKY: So this is the closed military zone.
UNIDENTIFIED: Not want that we go?
TARACHANSKY: We’re going to get shot if we go.
UNIDENTIFIED: And the Israeli army isn’t going to have any. Like, that was an interview I was conducting.
TARACHANSKY: Meanwhile back in Tel Aviv:
[RESTAURANT PATRONS WATCHING FIFA WORLD CUP]
For The Real News, I’m Lia Tarachansky in Israel.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.