If Not Peace, Then Just Quiet

It's always difficult to explain to students why citizens' ability to influence the government remains limited, even with the growing number of sophisticated media outlets. It's even harder to explain that while having to evacuate class four times, every time a "Color Red" siren warns of incoming Qassam rockets.

Despite the sirens, the students at Sapir College, in the Western Negev, exhibited endless patience. Time and again they took cover in sheltered areas and returned to hear how the media lends people its voice, while around us we could hear the sound of crashing Qassams.

Roni Yihye was killed yesterday, three and half years after my favorite student, Dana Galkowicz, was killed when a Qassam caught her off guard, sitting on her porch in Netiv Haasara. Phone calls to prime ministers will not help. Neither will burying every house in a layer of concrete.

Some 50 rockets in a few hours showed that what one needs is a serious debate - initially among regional leaders, but later incorporating others. A tit-for-tat exchange of blows between Israel and the Palestinians will not help, just like the occupation of Palestinians has not in the past. Those who went shopping in Sderot this Friday - a day that was abnormally calm - as a sign of support for the locals who have been living under threat of attacks, do not understand the feeling of a shock wave from a Qassam blast rippling across your clothing.

The resilience displayed by the people at Sapir, both students and faculty, is heart-warming and wonderful. We embrace each other not only out of love but because of our loss. A visit and a phone call by a minister cannot blur the fact that no one is willing to address the taboo subject of holding talks that will alter the situation. We no longer ask for peace - give us a few years of quiet, and we will be grateful. For that, we'll have to put our egos aside.

The author is the head of Sapir College media department.