By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
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By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
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By Kyle Swenson
For years after she moved to Sderot, a dusty outpost near Israel's border with Gaza, life was quiet for Michelle Fendel. With her husband, Rabbi David Fendel, the Long Island-born transplant helped start a school in the idyllic countryside.
Today, Sderot is anything but picturesque. When an alarm network blares — a weekly occurrence — residents have ten or 15 seconds to dive for cover before a Gazan missile attack lands.
"This is a regular city with schools and banks, but we've got missiles dropping on our heads with no warning," Fendel says in a phone interview from her home.
With the help of a Jewish legal group, Fendel filed suit last week in Miami-Dade court against an unlikely foe she says is partly to blame for the violence — an international satellite firm with an office in Brickell.
Here's her logic: The company, Inmarsat, provides "communication services" to a flotilla of ships trying to pierce a blockade around the Gaza Strip. Those efforts, she says, support Hamas, which governs Gaza. And which, in Fendel's view, would like nothing more than to blow up her house.
"Anyone who breaks this embargo is endangering our lives and our kids' lives, and it's not fair," she says.
Like most Middle Eastern conflicts, of course, the story isn't quite so black-and-white.
For one thing, activists counter that Israel's blockade has created a humanitarian crisis for Gaza's 1.6 million residents. The ships, they say, carry only basic supplies. "We... bring aid and freedom to the people of Gaza," Nourdin El Ouali, a Dutch politician onboard the ships, told Reuters last week.
For another, it's not clear what, if any, services Inmarsat — which also has corporate offices in London and Washington — really provides the flotilla.
A company spokesman in London declined to comment about the lawsuit but noted the United Nations requires any ship above a certain weight to carry an Inmarsat emergency beacon.
All are moot points to Fendel, who says the world has ignored for too long the deadly suffering of Sderot's residents. She hopes her Miami lawsuit helps stop the current flotilla — which is stuck in Greece during a diplomatic tug-of-war — and raises awareness.
"Anyone helping to break this blockade causes us serious danger," she says. "Our lives are on the line."
The flotilla is not about aid. It is about the fact that Gaza has been made into a prison by Israel. Why can't Gaza fishermen fish? Because the Israeli Navy shoots at them. Why is the Mediterranean Sea polluted around Gaza. Because Israel will not allow in the parts to fix the sewage system. Why can't young Gazans attend college in Europe or other places? Because Israel will not let them leave.
Free Gaza. Free Palestine. Share the land with the Palestinians in a fair way and you will not have to worry about rockets from anywhere.
Whatever means need to be taken to stop the flotilla/Hamas/all we want is to help B.S go ahead and do it. Y`all should tend to y`alls poor first in y`alls countries. If Gaza and the terror org. need humanitary help, well, ship it to Ashdod first and after making sure y`alls have no bombs instead of powder milk, everything will be put on semi trucks and brought in to Gaza to feed the needy. If y`alls agree to that then be my guest, otherwise shut the F... up.The world is either naiive or love to hate the Jews not so much for the love of gaza. Go volonteer in your county, your state or country and I am sure y`all be so busy , you will have no time on your hands to fight a cause that has been troubling for both sides since 1948.