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real_skeptic July 22 2014, 22:18

Alive and sleepy.

Today (well, technically, yesterday) the siren caught me just as I was parking my scooter next to my office's building. This was actually a scenario I was prepared for - so I just grabbed my stuff and ran inside, called everybody who was waiting for the lifts and didn't hear the siren, and swept downstairs to where I knew the shopping mall's secure space was (it's occupied by a small business, which is not OK, as there was room for maybe 10 people instead of 60, but that's another thing) with everybody following. I was just a tiny bit proud of myself. :-)

As it turned out, the rocket that caused the siren was not intercepted by Iron Dome, and hit a house a couple of kilometers away in a town called Yehud. Residents unharmed, house damaged. Unfortunately, Yehud is also not far from the Ben-Gurion airport (we can see the planes quite well from my office window). This was the trigger for the American and European airlines, who were uneasy about the rockets from day 1, to start a cascade of flight cancellations. Currently, the only airlines still flying in and out of Israel are the three Israeli companies (El-Al, Israir, Arkia) and some East European companies. Many people got stuck in various countries when they were coming back to Israel. And so, the terrorists win.

El-Al actually published a notice on the stock exchange yesterday, as they were expecting losses because of passenger cancellations due to the war. I think now they are going to become seriously profitable instead, suddenly having a short-term monopoly on flights between Tel-Aviv and New-York, and an almost exclusive offering for most of West Europe.
wildernesscat July 21 2014, 12:25

Modern day fairy-tale.

Originally posted by bormor at post
-В объявлении написано, что у вас можно взять квест,- сказал Полуэльф бургомистру.- Но там не объясняется, в чём суть. Вы не могли бы уточнить?
-Да всё просто,- пожал плечами бургомистр.- Видите вон тот холм? На нём засел гоблин с гранатомётом. И периодически обстреливает город. Вот, собственно, и вся проблема.
-Ага, понятно. Надо убить гоблина...
-Что вы, что вы!?- бургомистр вытаращил глаза и замахал руками.- Его ни в коем случае нельзя убивать!
-Почему?- удивился Гном.- Это же гоблин!
-Вот именно! Если мы его убьём, мировая общественность скажет, что это геноцид, а мы расисты.
-Ну и что? Пусть говорит что хочет.
-И введёт войска,- мрачно закончил свою мысль бургомистр.
-Хм...-задумался Полуэльф.- То есть, этот засранец стреляет по вам из гранатомёта, а вы терпите и не смеете дать сдачи?
-Не смеем,- развёл руками бургомистр.- Иначе нас назовут агрессорами.
-Ну хорошо, а если, допустим, не убивать гоблина, а прогнать его куда-нибудь подальше?
-С его холма? Невозможно. Тогда нас назовут оккупантами.
-Поймать и отобрать гранатомёт?
-Экспроприаторами.
-Посадить под замок вместе с гранатомётом?.. Ладно-ладно, не отвечайте,- быстро проговорил Полуэльф, когда бургомистр открыл было рот.- Я всё понял. Действительно, интересный случай.
-Ну так чего же вы от нас хотите?- не выдержала Принцесса.- Убивать нельзя, разоружать нельзя, ловить и прогонять тоже нельзя, а что тогда остаётся? Перевоспитывать? Это не наш профиль.
-Нет, что вы... Для такой работы мы бы позвали психолога. Но, кстати, тогда мировая общественность обвинила бы нас в оказании психологического давления.
-И в осквернении самобытных традиций,- добавил Гном, солидно качнув головой.- Пострелять из гранатомёта по людишкам - это же для гоблинов святое!
-Вот-вот,- радостно воскликнул бургомистр,- вы меня понимаете.
-Ну а от нас-то что требуется?- снова встряла Принцесса.
-Отнести посылку,- вздохнул бургомистр.
-Кому? Гоблину?
-Ну да. Ведь там, на холме, нет никаких запасов еды. Через час гоблин проголодается, объявит перемирие и начнёт переговоры. Он так каждый день делает. Требует, чтобы ему приносили еду, вино, оружие, иногда ещё чего-нибудь... А потом, когда наестся, заявляет, что мирные переговоры зашли в тупик и он вынужден возобновить огонь. Мировая общественность ему очень сочувствует. Считает, что он принципиальный.
-А если вы откажетесь предоставлять ему еду и оружие...
-Тогда про нас скажут, что...
-Ладно-ладно, мы поняли,- замахал руками Полуэльф.
-...и введут войска,- пробубнил бургомистр.
-Ну хорошо, а мы-то вам зачем? Послали бы кого-нибудь из своих отнести мешок.
-Посылали уже. Никто не вернулся.
-Что, гоблин их всех убил?
-Он утверждает, что нет.
-А...
-А мировая общественность ему верит.
-А...
-А тогда скажут, что мы провокаторы. Понимаете, это ведь он, гоблин, проявляет мирную инициативу, это его жест доброй воли. И если что-то пошло не так, то только по нашей вине. Очевидно же! А вы... ну вроде как посторонние, вас он, может, и не тронет.
-Ну хорошо,- подытожил Полуэльф.- Если отбросить всякую политическую шелуху, то от нас требуется взять посылку у заказчика и отнести её клиенту, верно? Обычный почтовый квест. А всё остальное - только ваши проблемы. Так?
-Всё верно,- подтвердил бургомистр,- значит, договорились?
-По рукам,- кивнул Полуэльф. Бургомистр облегчённо вздохнул.
-Можно вопрос?- подняла руку Принцесса.- Вот вы так боитесь, что мировая общественность назовёт вас агрессорами, или милитаристами, или ещё чем похуже - а как она вас называет сейчас?
-Идиотами,- печально ответил бургомистр.
real_skeptic July 21 2014, 09:45

Ah, ah, ah, ah, staying alive... staying alive...

Around half an hour ago or so, I was on my way from a dentist's appointment to work, when the siren caught me while riding. Luckily I was standing at a traffic light, so nobody was in motion or did anything stupid like veer to the right or stop dead, as already happened several times during sirens. I just got my scooter on the sidewalk and onto its parking jack, and looked for cover. But It didn't seem like there was anywhere safe within the minute that was left for me. So I just lied down, helmet still on, next to a low wall in hopes that it will shield me in case anything hit that area. After I heard the massive booms of the interception, I looked skyward. The interceptions were almost exactly overhead. I was looking mainly to avoid any fallout - after each of those interceptions it always rains metal in the area. Luckily, nothing was coming my direction. Eventually I got up, back to the scooter and my phone to report to my family. Let me tell you, it's really scary to be outside during an attack.

But well, I'm still alive. And I wish every Hamas member dead. It will do both Israel and the Palestinians loads of good.
real_skeptic July 17 2014, 21:29

I'm still alive.

Today in Israel:

Around 4 AM: A large group of Hamas militants infiltrated Israel through a 3km long tunnel, emerging next to a small Kibbutz. Their probable aim was either kidnapping or killing civilians from that Kibbutz. They were discovered and destroyed.

10 AM: A five hour humanitarian ceasefire was requested by the UN. Israel ceases fire. The Hamas renews hostilities after 2 hours. At 15:00 the UN asks for an extension of the ceasefire, but Israel refuses due to Hamas violations.

Later in the day: the ceasefire negotiations fail, although Israel has agreed to the Egyptian offer once again. The Egyptians are not pleased and say that the Hamas is now responsible for every drop of blood to be shed in Gaza.

6 PM: Again, rockets all the way to the Sharon area. I'm not even mentioning the South which was attacked all day.

8:30 PM: A second Hamas drone is detected over Israel. Is intercepted by a Patriot missile.

10:30 PM: Rockets on Tel-Aviv.

11 PM: The IDF officially invades Gaza. Actually, it probably started earlier, hence the nocturnal rockets on Tel-Aviv, but that's about when the government made the official declaration.

Sigh. My niece's boyfriend is among the troops. She is seriously worried.
real_skeptic July 15 2014, 17:57

I'm getting really tired of being bombarded.

My nerves are getting frayed. In the first few days I bore it with patience. After all, the civilians on the other side don't have the excellent air defense system we have here so they are in for much worse.

But last night I started dreaming of missiles hunting me. Then just before I woke I dreamed that the siren went off, and before I could determine if this was dream or reality, there was also the follow-up explosion, which shone white through my closed shutters. This dream was realistic enough to make me check later if there was indeed an attack on Tel-Aviv at that time, but no. There were attacks on different places in Israel. The one on the Tel-Aviv area came at around 18:30.

It's a little better when I'm at work - the bomb shelter is where we have our kitchen so it's quickly reachable and not dank and musty from months of disuse as most shelters (at least in the central area) are. At home, it's an old building from the 50s, so of course, none of the modern "fortified security room" luxury like my mom and sister have in their nice, modern homes. But at least we have a bomb shelter in the basement, and the building committee made sure it's open. However, many of the neighbors use it for storage, so now that it's in need, there is hardly enough room for everybody to stand. The place is big enough in theory for the whole building, 18 families, to stay in it. But with all the stuff there it's barely enough for 10 people.

I wonder why the neighbors from the next two entrances don't bother to run down to it, though. Being this far from Gaza, we have 90 seconds to reach safety, and I think that at least for healthy adults under 50 this should be enough to go down three floors and run 20 meters to our entrance. It's a lot safer than staying at home because this old building is really a paper structure, with its old, crumbling bricks and mortar.

The Hamas refused the Egyptians ceasefire, so while we kept our weapons silent for several hours as per the agreement, they escalated their bombings and rained the entire coastal line with rockets. Nah, it was clear from the beginning that they were not interested in a ceasefire. But we did try. It's much worse for my mom and nephew who live in Beer-Sheva. And my friend in Ashdod who is thankfully flying to Japan today.

Edit: There was a heavy attack on Tel-Aviv this morning (July 16). Four rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome. A house was damaged by falling rocket parts. I'm still safe.

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