Residents of the Israeli border city of Sderot would like actor Mark Ruffalo to visit and learn how they feel living under the constant threat of rocket attacks, after he posted a tweet calling on Israel to lift its blockade on Gaza.
Ruffalo also tweeted a link to an online petition that accused Israel of violating international law and keeping Gazans from receiving construction materials to rebuild homes destroyed in last summer’s military conflict between Israel and Hamas. The petition did not mention the terrorist group that controls Gaza.
“I invite Mark Ruffalo to come to me for [Sabbath], to live all day in the bomb shelter, 24 hours – and you can’t go out because of rockets – and then say what he thinks about the closure of Gaza,” Chen Hana Elmaliah, a 24-year-old university student told TheBlaze by phone Thursday from her home in Sderot.
While she said she sympathizes with Ruffalo’s desire to help the Palestinians, she worries he’s not seeing the entire picture.
“It’s really easy to see only one side,” said Elmaliah whose house was hit by a rocket when she was 17, one of many such traumatic experiences she has endured. Sderot has sustained thousands of rocket attacks.
“There’s a horrible terror organization ruling there for years,” she said.
Moria Hagbi, 24, a teacher from Sderot, has also experienced multiple close calls, including when a rocket fell behind her house while she was a high school student.
She said she lives in a constant state of fear and worries that if the Gaza blockade is lifted, the situation will only get worse.
“When I hear the banging of a door, I get scared. This means my situation is not normal,” Hagbi told TheBlaze.
Hagbi emphasized she feels for Palestinians suffering in Gaza but that she doesn’t trust the Hamas leadership.
“I have no faith in them,” she said.
Israel maintains that the sea blockade is necessary to prevent the delivery of long-range rockets and other weaponry to terrorist groups in Gaza. Egypt is battling the same problem on its border with Gaza, yet escapes the same criticism from pro-Palestinian activists.
At the same time, the Israeli military says that since last year’s conflict, it has allowed more than 1.3 million tons of construction materials into Gaza to construct medical centers, water and sewage facilities, schools, houses and roads.
On the day Ruffalo tweeted about Gaza, Israel facilitated the entry of 677 trucks into Gaza, an activity it updates on Twitter at #GazaDailyActivity.
The Israel Defense Forces accuses Hamas of quietly working to rebuild its sophisticated tunnel network which last summer was used to repeatedly infiltrate into Israel and launch cross-border attacks.
“It’s unfortunate that the Hamas regime chooses to invest its resources in terror rather than the welfare of the people of Gaza,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
The IDF estimates that each tunnel costs $3 million to construct.
“Each tunnel Hamas built robbed the Palestinian people of potential homes, mosques, school and medical clinics. Even today, Hamas continues to invest millions of dollars in restocking and rebuilding its weapons cache rather than investing in Gaza,” the IDF said in a statement in July.
Elmaliah, the Sderot student, said that “the problem with people like Ruffalo is they don’t understand that the moment a terrorist organization rules there and if Israel doesn’t get involved, the situation there will become more dire.”
“I think the world – actors, politicians, citizens – they choose to be innocent and to close their eyes. It’s really easy to point a finger at Israel and say we’re not OK,” she said. “We also want to live. When they send us missiles and suicide bombers we have to defend ourselves. Everyone has the right to defend himself.”
“It’s easy to be on the other side and see in the media all that happens in Gaza and to feel sorry. I also feel sorry for them,” she said. “We need to help the people in Gaza. They are very poor people. I feel sorry for them. I want to embrace them, but they need also to stand up to say ‘no more occupation’ – not to Israel but to Hamas. Occupation is not by Israel, but by the terror organizations.”
Noam Bedein, director of Sderot Media Center, told TheBlaze that since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and other terror groups have launched 8,700 rockets at Sderot, not counting the thousands of rockets and missiles sent to other Israeli towns.
Bedein calls Sderot the “most bombarded city since World War II.”
Responding to Ruffalo’s call, Bedein asked, “What would happen if only one rocket came from Tijuana toward San Diego? What would the response be?”
“The concept of 15 seconds to run for your life [to a shelter] is the hardest thing to get across. What can you possibly do in 15 seconds? That’s the entire reality of living on the Gaza border,” he added.
During last year’s war between Israel and Hamas, the “Avengers” star posted messages critical of Israel.
Ruffalo is currently at in Venice Film Festival promoting his upcoming film “Spotlight.” In case he decided to take up the invitation to visit, Italy is only a four-hour flight from Israel.
Article source- http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/09/03/israelis-invite-mark-ruffalo-to-see-how-they-live-under-rocket-threat-after-he-calls-for-end-to-gaza-blockade/