Judge Goldstone Shalom,
My name is Dr. Adriana Katz and for the past 15 years I have served as the Head Psychiatrist at the Mental Health Center in Sderot, Israel. My name could have been also Buchbut, Davidov, or Amar like the names of tens of thousand of citizens living in Sderot and Western Negev communities.
I would like to thank Sderot Media Center for their unceasing work to show the human story of what has been happening here in Sderot and the Western Negev. For this reason I have asked them to help me in getting my voice out on this UN Report.
What do you know Judge Goldstone of the thousands of Israeli trauma victims whose lives have become hell on earth? They can no longer go to work, every noise, bleep or beep sends them into a panic, where they cry and tremble fearing it’s another siren going off.
It has been almost 9 years now, Judge Goldstone, where thousands of innocent civilians living
in these communities have been suffering from daily insecurity and fear. Almost 9 years where
this fear has no smell or taste – but it has a color – the color RED.
It has been almost 9 years, Honorable Goldstone, that we, the psychiatrists and the social workers have been busy trying to pick up the pieces and trying to mend the ruined lives, the separated families, and children who are sick from fear and trauma.
For the past 9 years, over 12,000 Qassam rockets have been fired upon our communities. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, we don’t know whether we will make it home, or to work or to school, alive or in one piece.
We have raised a generation of Qassam children and we will need more time than we have to fix what the rockets have destroyed. Who will help the 4,000 children return to mentally stable ordinary lives, where they will cease to wet their beds at night and no longer fear to leave their homes?
6,500 files have been opened at our Mental Health Center and the numbers are growing every day. There is no post-trauma reality here in Sderot – as the rockets continue to strike everything is still traumatic. There are dozens of years of rehabilitation lying ahead for the population here.
Honorable Goldstone, it is clear to me that blood and ruins have more impact and dramatically photograph better. You cannot photograph a destroyed psyche and broadcast it all over the world.
The reality in Sderot has turned into a game of Russian roulette. Nobody knows who’s next. And here too you can find blood and ruin.
Can you tell me Judge Goldstone who can carry on under such conditions? Who would agree to live in such a reality?
Where has the Honorable Goldstone been all these years when Jewish children have been under constant Palestinian attack? Operation Cast Lead proves the common saying; a constantly beaten dog will eventually turn on his master.
Judge Goldstone, I am against wars. The pictures I have seen have made me cry. The children in Gaza are as precious as the children of Sderot. Yet I don’t see how we can go on like this. Have you seen any action – verbal or actual on the part of world leaders during these long years of suffering on the Israeli side?
Like you, I am not a Zionist. I do what needs to be done as part of my duty of being a doctor. Now I feel that I can no longer be silent in the face of unfair play where you describe the situation according to your view, turning the State of Israel into a criminal country.
Perhaps had I been still living in Europe I would think like you, but from where I live things look very different. I don’t even expect you to understand. And he who does not understand cannot judge. If anything, I have learned one thing – things that cannot be seen from there are not what they are here. If I was an influential personality I would invite you to Sderot and perhaps then you would be able to pass judgment objectively and informatively.
Dr. Adriana Katz
(Photo: Anav Silverman/Sderot Media Center)