NBC Examines Plight of Israelis Terrorized by Hamas Rockets

On Sunday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Martin Fletcher gave rare attention to the plight of Israelis who live in the towns of Sderot and Ashkelon, which have for years been frequent targets of rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas because of their relative proximity to the Gaza Strip. Devoting an entire report to the issue in which he informed viewers of how many years the rocket attacks have spanned over, Fletcher began: "This is why Israel invaded Gaza. Thirteen more rockets hit the town of Sderot today. Since April 2001, 5,000 rockets have hit in and around the town." After showing a clip of a boy named Angel Yamine expressing his fear of the Hamas rockets, Fletcher continued: "The threat to Israeli citizens from Hamas rockets is still very real. This is David and Panina Yamine in Ashkelon. They can't stop watching the war. They live in fear, afraid of rocket attacks."

Then came a soundbite of Angel's mother Panina: "Where you can live like this? Eight years people live like that. It's not life."

After recounting that the Yamine family had to rush to take shelter several times in one day in response to sirens warning of incoming rockets, Fletcher concluded: "So they watch TV, afraid for the soldiers, afraid for themselves. The Yamine family and Angel's mother, hoping the invasion of Gaza will make them safe. Martin Fletcher, NBC News, Ashkelon, Israel."

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Sunday, January 4, NBC Nightly News:

LESTER HOLT: Even with Israeli tanks and troops on the hunt inside Gaza, Hamas militants still managed to fire off more deadly rockets into Israel today. Here's NBC's Martin Fletcher.

MARTIN FLETCHER: This is why Israel invaded Gaza. Thirteen more rockets hit the town of Sderot today. Since April 2001, 5,000 rockets have hit in and around the town. Angel Alvera is nine years old. He lives next door to this home destroyed today. "I don't like it," he says. "It was a big boom, and they took the woman away." The chandelier's intact, but that's about all. With Israeli ground invasion of Gaza well under way, the threat to Israeli citizens from Hamas rockets is still very real. This is David and Panina Yamine in Ashqelon. They can't stop watching the war. They live in fear, afraid of rocket attacks.

PANINA YAMINE: Where you can live like this? Eight years people live like that. It's not life.

FLETCHER: Israel TV took these pictures Friday. A family at home. Suddenly-

 

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I shout to my children, "It’s the alarms. All the people please go downstairs."

FLETCHER: They cram into the shelter. Her nephew hides his head in terror. After five minutes, the all clear. The rockets smash into a house half a mile away. Then, another siren. Back to the shelter. And then another. The next morning at breakfast, another siren. Panina feels she must set a good example.

YAMINE: I must to show them that I'm not afraid and I have-

FLETCHER: Are you afraid?

YAMINE: Yes. I'm afraid like them. Exactly like them.

FLETCHER: So they watch TV, afraid for the soldiers, afraid for themselves. The Yamine family and Angel's mother, hoping the invasion of Gaza will make them safe. Martin Fletcher, NBC News, Ashqelon, Israel.