No wonder NASA showed such interest in reaching out to the Islamic world a few months ago. It is an entire culture that has no education or interests beyond making rockets around the clock. The problem is, they only land on Jews. I guess that is the new final frontier.
By Ulrike Putz in the Gaza Strip
The young man pulls the door of the taxi closed. He is wet. There is a light drizzle in the Gaza Strip. He turns around and greets the passengers in the back seat with a quick handshake. “Are you ready?” he asks them. “As of this moment, we could be going to paradise at any time.” The other people in the car don’t respond, and the driver of the Mercedes hits the gas. “I should have phoned my wife,” he says after a while. “She should start to keep an eye out for a new husband.”
It’s a long journey through the pitch-dark night as the taxi heads towards the secret rocket factory in the Gaza Strip. Since Abdul* and his two friends got in, it has become a life-threatening trip. The young men produce rockets for the Islamic Jihad. Day after day, their rudimentary bombs land on Israeli villages, fields and kibbutzim. Israel responds by using air strikes to kill the Qassam commandos. The attacks mostly target cars that carry the militants to their missions — cars like the one we are traveling in this evening.
The car is traveling north in the direction of the Israeli border. The men make jokes about the virgins that according to Islamic belief are awaiting them in paradise: gallows humor. One holds a pistol in the face of the stranger: “I just wanted to see if you would be frightened.” It’s now pouring outside, the taxi’s windows are so fogged that the promised blindfold is no longer necessary. It is impossible to tell where the car is; it’s just clear that the houses outside are looking increasingly poor. Next to dark windows there are posters honoring the “martyrs,” the Palestinians killed in the struggle with Israel. Smoldering campfires that appear between the massive puddles light the way.
The Fertilizer Comes from Israel
The vehicle finally stops at a dirt track. The Islamic Jihad rocket factory is housed in a kind of garden shed. The hut measures five meters by five meters, metal pipes with small wings lean against the wall in the corner: Half finished Qassams. There are several tightly packed garbage bags on a shelf. “TNT,” says Abdul and produces a chunk. The explosive looks like lumpy sugar. A large cauldron is sitting ready on a gas cooker while bags with Hebrew writing are piled up high up against the wall. “Fertilizer for the rocket fuel,” Abdul says and grins. “We get it in Israel.”