Lian Haziza stands outside her home, hit by a Gaza rocket today. Photo: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency.
It’s 7:30 am and Sarah Haziza is beginning the day, like countless other Jewish mothers in households across the world, with Passover cleaning. The floor is full of soapy water, when suddenly the 47-year-old Sderot mother hears the rocket siren warning of an incoming Gaza rocket. “My youngest daughter was still sleeping so I ran to get her,” Haziza told Tazpit News Agency. “I picked her up and was careful not to slip on the water, as we headed out to our shelter.”
It was during the second rocket alarm that Haziza hesitated whether to go into the shelter again. But she did, carrying her sleepy eight-year-old to the cement shelter once more. A few seconds later, Haziza heard a very loud explosion. “I knew then, that the rocket had landed here,” she said.
It was the second time that Haziza’s home has been hit in recent years. As we sit in her kitchen, US President Barack Obama can be heard on the TV, speaking chromatically to the occasional loud applause in his address in Jerusalem, about an hour’s drive to Sderot. “We are not interesting enough,” said Haziza as she glances at the screen. “No one died, no one was physically injured [in the rocket attacks]. But the fact that my family will not do the Pesach seder at home because of this rocket bothers none of the politicians,” said Haziza.
Haziza, a mother of three, looks tiredly around her house. “I’ve been interviewed all day by reporters and I just don’t have the strength to continue with the Pesach cleaning.”
Photo: Daniel Hagbi, Sderot Media Center
“Obama visits and look what happens. This is too much for me right now,” said Haziza. When asked what she would say if she could speak directly to President Obama, Haziza immediately replies that “the President should have visited Sderot today, to see what life is really like for residents who just want to live quietly,” she said.
“We are the ones that have to deal with this mess, Obama gets to go back to the White House,” declares Haziza.
Lian, Haziza’s youngest daughter leads me to the site where the rocket hit, but not before her mother yells at her to put on a pair of shoes. “There’s shrapnel everywhere,” says her mother.
Right outside the Haziza’s living room, one can see the wreckage left by the rocket, blackened walls and debris strewn on the ground. The wreckage was limited because upon impact, the rocket miraculously did not explode. Lian’s older 24-year-old brother and their 18-year-old cousin, Oshri from across the street join us. “It’s a miracle,” Oshri keeps repeating. “If the rocket had exploded, the damage would have been so much worse,” he says expertly.
Noam Bedein, director of Sderot Media Center, told Tazpit News Agency, that while Sderot has been enjoying the quietest period that any Hamas ceasefire has brought in the past decade, it could change very quickly. “This is Hamas’s fourth ceasefire with Israeli in the past six years since it took over Gaza. During past ceasefires, hundreds of rockets were fired, and that’s what we can expect again” said Bedein.
“The Iron Dome works for long distance missiles, generally not for these shorter distance rockets as we saw today,” he added.
“The fact that rockets were fired today is not surprising. Hamas is showing President Obama that it is part of the picture, and that the president must take Hamas leadership into account, and not Mahmoud Abbas.”
A recent article on the Hamas military wing’s website, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, described the leadership of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas as “weak and pliant.” The article accused President Obama of “trying to revive false hope” with his visit to Israel.