Monday, June 16, 2008

A bitter anniversary - seven years of Kassams

From Jun 16, 2008 by ABE SELIG:

Seven years since the first Kassam rocket slammed into Sderot, a public hearing - the first of its kind in the town - is set to take place on Tuesday; residents will shuffle into one of the only buildings that is protected from Kassam fire, and testify about life in the rocket zone.

...A report summarizing the hearing will be distributed to Israel's decision-makers, with what a Shatil [the field unit of the New Israel Fund that works for democratic change and social justice] press release called "the aim of prompting policy change with regard to the social and economic rights of Sderot residents." ...

...nearly 10,000 rockets have been fired at Sderot in the last seven years, and 3,000 residents have fled, according to The Israel Project, an international nonprofit organization that provides information to the media. In addition, 22 Israeli civilians have been killed by Kassam fire since 2001, including eight in Gush Katif before the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

But aside from the hard facts, Eitan is hoping her organization will be able to highlight a different view of Sderot, outside the prism of numbers and statistics, focusing more on social justice for citizens of a democratic country.

"Until now Sderot has been portrayed a specific way in the media," Eitan said. "The people living there are shown as either worthy of pity or as heroes. We're trying to bring a different message, one that explores the social and human rights of the city's residents, because these people are citizens of Israel, and they have rights just like anyone else."

...Getting the government to help is the main goal of Tuesday's hearing, and Eitan said she hopes the people's voices and the sincere illustrations of their hardships will speak loud enough for those in positions of power to hear...

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