The town of Sederot is as young as Israel itself. It was established in 1951 and it is inhabited by 24 thousand people. Nobody would probably ever know that such a town exists if it wasn’t for its location- it is situated about one kilometre away from the Gaza Strip border. Its dark fame derives from the fact that since Hamas started to rule Gaza, it has been the closest and the easiest target for Quassam rockets.
Statistically about 3 rockets a day have fallen down in Sederot since 2006. So far, 11 people, including 3 children, have been killed. The town slightly resembles Albanian metropolises from the times of the Cold War, when each citizen had his own shelter there. Such is the case with Sederot now. When sirens blare, one has about 15 seconds to hide. It seems to be enough, but it is not always sufficient. For instance, a mother taking care of her 3 playing children faces a problem.
Apart from murders and injuries, what strikes the locals are also mental illnesses and neurosis, occuring mainly among children. The town employs additional psychiatrists and psychologists, still however about 700 people remain under the permanent doctors’ supervision.
Asked why people don’t escape from the town, the mayor of Sederot, David Buskila, says that they treat living here as the first-line protection. He adds that if people from the town gave up, it would be easier for the opponent to attack the country. Well, during the last “seven-day-long war” the opponent showed that he can successfully attack also more remote towns. Ashold is located much further from Gaza. It is inhabited by 200.000 people. Some rackets fell down on the block of flats there. The tenants were saved thanks to shelters which have been made obligatory in every apartment in the last few years. Just as the store rooms which had been built in every flat before.
I am citing these facts not to compensate Palestinian pain with Israeli victims. I want to show that war and violence wreak havoc on both sides of the frontline.Author : Marek Siwiec MEP