Last week's injured
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

Sderot not surprised by comptroller's report

Residents say report that Qassams are not being addressed adequately 'proves that government abandoned us, nothing is being done'

It's safe to assume that Sderot residents weren't surprised by the state comptroller's report Wednesday, regarding the failures of the government in dealing with Qassam attacks on Israel.


The increased rocket attacks on the city and the western Negev this past week have merely reinforced a prevalent opinion among regional residents that the IDF is not responding adequately to the attacks, as it did in the past.


"The state comptroller's report proves that the government abandoned the residents of Sderot and the region, and didn't prepare itself to deal with Qassams," said Alon Davidi, the chairman of Sderot's security staff.


"The worst part is that the IDF is asking to fix the problem and address the Qassam rockets with a ground operation in Gaza, but the government rejects the military recommendation and perpetuates its horrible mistake of abandoning residents under rocket threat."


The Sderot municipality released a statement in response to the report, stating "the lack of IDF preparation regarding Qassams is nothing compared to the complete lack of action by the government of (Prime Minister) Ehud Olmert and (Defense Minister) Amir Peretz, who were joined this past week by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Damage caused by Qassam over weekend (Photo: AP)


"Our amazement only grew after the direct hit this week in which two houses in the city were damaged and the government's insistence on a policy of restraint and inaction. In our eyes (former Defense Minister) Shaul Mofaz is still the man of honor in our town for his tough responses to the rocket launchings until his replacement last spring."


Similar sentiments ring out from every neighborhood in the city, where it's always easy to find a family who has suffered from an attack.


'Palestinians laughing in our face'  

Resident Zimru Yakobob, whose brother was killed in a Qassam attack, wrote a letter to the prime minister in response to the report, expressing his outrage at the lack of response from the government and the army.


"At last someone said what we already know, think and feel," Yakobob said of the state comptroller. "It doesn't matter if I'm the one who lost a brother or if I'm just any resident in the town, dealing with the daily rocket barrages.


"I remember former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who told us that if there would be rockets after the (2005) disengagement, we would hurt (the attackers) intensely.


"The Palestinians don't need to read the report. They're right in front of us, across the fence, laughing in our face. They see that we don't respond, don't do anything. Once, there was at least artillery…not silence, like there is now.


"I think there is no other sovereign nation in the world where rocket attacks could continue for six years non-stop, without anyone doing anything. This is exactly what the comptroller is saying – how does a strong nation allow something like this to happen?"


A direct rocket hit on two 14-year-old boys, Amir Basad and Matan Cohen, five months ago was especially traumatic for the community. Cohen was severely injured and Basad sustained critical wounds requiring immediate surgery. He only recently returned home, after four and a half months of intense physical therapy.


"I heard the report and it wasn't news to me. You need to be here to understand," said Bruria Basad, Amir's mother. "People act as if things relate only to us in Sderot, but they should affect everyone. I want a Knesset member or minister to come live here for just a couple of days in order to feel what we're going through."


Bruria is pessimistic about the future, even after the state comptroller's report. "I don't see a solution other than going into Gaza. That's the only solution and it's not being done.


"Amir isn't the last child who will be hurt – there will be many more and there will be many more reports saying that nothing is being done," she said.


פרסום ראשון: 05.09.07, 23:39
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