Thursday, January 11, 2007

Russian Roulette

Click for optical illusion

Today, I visited the Sapir College very near to Sderot, slap bang on the border with the Gaza Strip. The trip takes almost exactly an hour, less time than it would take to cross London or Paris. When you arrive you are in the range of the qassams that land in this area on a daily basis. "We're being targeted you know," said the Head of the Humanities Department , showing me a plaque on the floor that marked the spot of a direct hit a few years ago.

They're keen on peace projects at the Sapir college. The dean had just met with a group from Combatants for Peace see made up of former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian terrorists "with blood on their hands" who talk to small audiences about the futility of bloodshed and the need to reach an agreement.

The fact that the qassams are landing here on Israel's 'periphery' where the local residents are poorer and less influential, and not in the middle of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem means that the government can allow itself the luxury of maintaining the cease-fire in Gaza but for the people who actually live here, including the 4,00 students - Jews and Arabs - who study at the Sapir College, every day is game of Russian Roulette.

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