Daily Israel Report

Sderot Mayor to Goldstone: You Were Silent for Eight Years

Mayor of shell-shocked town wrote a personal letter to Richard Goldstone, whose report on Operation Cast Lead accused Israel of war crimes.
By Gil Ronen and Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/3/2009, 8:55 PM / Last Update: 10/3/2009, 10:19 PM

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David Buskila, the mayor of Sderot, sent a personal letter this weekend to the head of the United Nations committee of inquiry on the war in Gaza, Judge Richard Goldstone. In the missive, Buskila protested against the UN's silence – and Goldstone's – in the years leading up to the Gaza operation.

The world, the UN, and Goldstone had eight years in which to protest the rocket attacks on Sderot and other towns in southern Israel, Buskila said. Instead, they said nothing while Hamas repeatedly attacked.

“The world was silent, and so were you. You were silent at the sight of our children's bodies, you were silent in the face of their fear, you were silent when each of the 8,000 Kassam rockets hit our city,” Buskila accused.

"Your silence was frightening. It was reminiscent of times past,” he continued.

Buskila recalled the youngest victims of the years-long assault on Sderot: three-year-old Afik Ohayon, two-year-old Dorit Enso, and four-year-old Yuval Ababa. “The blood of the children whose lives were cut short calls out from the ground,” he told Goldstone. “There is no atonement and no forgiveness for the blood of a small child whose in his short stay on earth had not yet learned of hatred and war.”

Buskila told Goldstone that his concern extended to children in Gaza as well. “I am pained and sorry for each Palestinian child who was killed. The suffering of Palestinian civilians pains me,” he said.

However, he said, Israel was not to blame for Gaza residents' pain.

"Let us not ignore the facts – the suffering of Sderot and its children, and likewise the suffering of Gaza' residents, are on the shoulders and the conscience of Hamas's leaders and the leaders of fundamentalist Islam,” he continued, “those who make war crimes their life's work, and who are not party to the norms of the Western world.”