July 21, 2014 – 10:06 am

By Harriet Sherwood in Sderot

As the sun begins to sink over the Mediterranean, groups of Israelis gather each evening on hilltops close to the Gaza border to cheer, whoop and whistle as bombs rain down on people in a hellish warzone a few miles away.

Old sofas, garden chairs, battered car seats and upturned crates provide seating for the spectators. On one hilltop, a swing has been attached to the branches of a pine tree, allowing its occupant to sway gently in the breeze. Some bring bottles of beer or soft drinks and snacks.

On Saturday, a group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke.

Despite reports that millions of Israelis are living in terror of Hamas rockets, they don’t deter these hilltop war watchers whose proximity to Gaza puts them within range of the most rudimentary missiles. Some bring their children.

In the border town of Sderot, which has been struck by countless missiles from the Gaza Strip in recent years, one family gathers on a top-floor balcony, draped with an Israeli flag and banner of the army’s legendary Golani Brigade. A house with a war view may even command a premium price these days.

An atmosphere of anticipatory excitement grows as dusk falls, in the expectation that Hamas militants will increase rocket fire after breaking their Ramadan fast, and the Israeli military will respond with force.

The thud of shellfire, flash of an explosion and pall of smoke are greeted with exclamations of approval. “What a beauty,” says one appreciative spectator.

Shimrit Peretz, 19, has come with her off-duty soldier boyfriend, Raz Sason, whose army-issue assault rifle is slung across his shoulders.

“We come to look at the bombing,” Peretz says, adding that this is their fourth visit to the hilltop. They plan to stay several hours: “It’s interesting.” The pair have brought a backpack filled with bottles of water and bags of crisps.

Peretz says that she doesn’t worry about the Palestinian civilians caught in the bombing; Sason disagrees. Despite his concern for the innocents caught in the assault, the young conscript soldier wishes he was with his comrades across the border in Gaza. “I’d like to be going in, to help my country and help the soldiers inside,” he says.

Given the dramatic views, media crews are coming to the area to cover the fighting. On a nearby hilltop, an ugly scene develops as a group of Israeli men threaten a photographer, accusing him of being a “leftist”. We are warned against asking for interviews, as another cheer goes up.

Note: The above article was posted at Information Clearing House.

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  2. hello do you have bob dylans seattle show 4/10/2002 its the one where he does 3 warren zevon songs love to have a listen cheers the duke

    By the duke on Jul 21, 2014

  3. whops sorry wrong place to make a request,the world is i a terrible uproar, give peace a chance

    By the duke on Jul 21, 2014

  4. The Palestinian leadership declares that it wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, Palestinian schools teach their kids that Jews are “descendents of apes and pigs,” and Hamas fires rockets into Israeli civilian areas, month after month - so why would anyone be surprised that the Israelis are happy that they’re finally fighting back? And why is there no similar outrage when the Palestinians celebrate in the streets and hand out candy to their children whenever there’s a suicide bombing that kills Israeli women and children?

    By none more black on Jul 22, 2014

  5. Who let the Israeli troll in? This is massacre and a land grab by by one the most racist countries in earth. The Israelis have nearly managed to wipe Palestinian of the face of the map– piece by piece.

    By disgusted on Jul 22, 2014

  6. “disguster,” go read the Wikipedia article “Arab citizens of Israel.” Israel has well over a million Arab and Palestinian citizens. Israel even allows Arab Muslims to serve in its parliament. And Israeli TV isn’t where you’ll see cartoon characters teaching children that the other side is evil and deserves to be liquidated. I’m sure you can find some racists in Israel, but anti-Semitic hatred is a fundamental principle of Islamic fundamentalism, and Jew-hating Islamic fundamentalism is the foundation of Hamas and the Palestinian worldview. But hey, I can’t say that I’m surprised to see mindless Jew-bashing at BigO, given that all the articles about the Middle East conflict paint the Palestinians as nothing but peace-loving, oppressed underdogs, and only mention civilian casualties when they happen in Gaza.

    By none more black on Jul 22, 2014

  7. I’d be doing the same thing. palestinians are evil, dirty dogs. Let me get this straight, hamas and the palestinians fire rockets into Israel and complain and cry like little babies when Israel fires back. If they wouldn’t have killed 3 innocent kids in the first place, this wouldn’t be happening right now. This is what happens when you elect terrorists to lead your country.

    Did I mention palestinians weren’t very smart either? The palestinians could end this tomorrow by throwing the dirty hamas leaders out of power and pick a real leader who can settle their problems. You have to have some brains and be able to negotiate and compromise to be a leader and hamas has neither one.

    Seems to me I saw some coverage from yesterday that reported some Israeli soldiers were killed and the streets were filled with dirty palestinians laughing and cheering. So, If you’re going to write a one-sided article that claims Israeli’s are the only ones celebrating war and death, why would you waste your time and everyone’s time who reads this dribble.

    By Dum Palestinian on Jul 22, 2014

  8. The joy that organized religion has brought to the world. From massacres during the Crusades, to burnings at the stake during the Thirty Years War, to bashed heads and gun downs during the Troubles, to the murder of Palestinian children being a spectator sport in Israel. All in the name of a loving deity. And all sides drunk on righteous hypocrisy.

    By a sheep by any name on Jul 22, 2014

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