Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An interesting synchronicity: yesterday two kassamim – Arab terrorist rockets – fired from Aza hit Ashkelon, the exquisite seaside city of 110,000 people just south of Tel Aviv. As it happened, neither of them hit anyone, but it was a signal that the rocket and missile deluge is only a hairbreadth away, anyplace in Israel. I took this picture of part of the Ashkelon beach a while ago. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

What also came to light yesterday was testimony from a gynecologist from Ashkelon, Dr. Mirela Siderer, to the infamous UN Human Rights Council – what a joke that name is. Dr. Siderer was stuck and seriously injured in May, 2008, when a rocket fired by Islamic terrorists struck the clinic where she was working.

But Dr. Siderer her tell her story herself. This is a slight abridgement of the testimony she offered in Geneva:

"Distinguished guests, permit me, distinguished panelists, please permit me to say something from the heart. I’ve come here to give you my personal story, my personal tragedy. I am not a politician. I don’t deal in politics. Just what happened to me.

I’m 53 years old. I was born in Romania. I studied medicine in Romania. That’s where I met my husband and I came to Israel to be with him. He too is a physician. I live in Ashkelon, and am known in my city by many patients, including women patients from Gaza who would come to me for treatment before the Intifada.

My life was quiet, like anywhere in the world with the usual day-to-day issues of ordinary life. I raised two children. My son is 16 and in high school, my daughter is attending Tel Aviv University where she’s studying international relations.

This whole quiet life that I had was altered in a split second in a moment when one day in May 2008 in the evening without any alert, without any prior warning a rocket landed in the clinic where I was working. I must say that at that time it was a very tense time. There were many rockets landing in the area, but for some reason I continued to work because I felt I was secure in my clinic. I knew that I’m in a hospital in a clinic and places like that where people are being treated nothing’s going to happen. It’s a protected place. And yet it happened.

Within a split second the place was utterly demolished. The clinic is situated at the upper story of one of the shopping malls in Ashkelon and I found myself under the debris. For a few seconds I lost consciousness, but then very quickly I became conscious again. I understood what was happening at that moment and I saw blood, a lot of blood coming out of my left arm, but I couldn’t do anything to stop the bleeding.

In the room with me was a patient. I was concerned to talk to her to tell her not to fall asleep, but to remain awake until someone comes to save us. The patient, too, was critically wounded. She got to the hospital with her abdomen open and her intestines exposed.

Instinctively I looked for my mobile phone and I called my husband who is also a physician and told him I had been very badly injured, and that he should come to save me. My worst injury was in the face. I felt like a ball of fire spinning inside my face. All of my teeth flew out.

The rescue team arrived and quickly transferred me to a hospital. From that moment my life changed radically. I heard that in that event there were over 100 people wounded in the shopping mall. Just people who were shoppers, nothing more.

Since then I’ve undergone six operations; five plastic operations and one in the mouth for my teeth. I have a piece of shrapnel almost 4 centimeters lodged on the left side of my back very close to the spine, but at the moment it cannot be removed. Perhaps it will never be removed so long as it doesn’t cause other complications. I have more operations to come, and I hope that I will look better. It’s very difficult for me to endure the way I look and it also impairs my breathing. I apologize.

But of course the worst is my psychological state. What was my sin? What was my crime? I’m a Jewish physician working in Ashkelon. I studied medicine to help people. I didn’t care if they were from Gaza, from anywhere in the world, from Israel, wherever. What was my crime? What did I do wrong? Why did I wind up in this situation? I just want to mention that I’m just an ordinary citizen.

I never played a role in any act of war. I never took part in any battles. I don’t even know what battles are about. I have no understanding of terrorism. I want you to understand that. I have no understanding of killing children, killing women, ordinary people, innocent people, but never the less I do have a great deal of sorrow for all of the victims, for the children and the women on the other side. They too are innocent. This has to stop. It has to stop.

I have a letter from the police, the Israeli police that says that the rocket that hit me was sent by the Islamic Jihad. This isn’t a state that’s at war with the state of Israel. It’s a terrorist organization. This has to stop. Enough of this bloodshed.

Enough of this suffering of everyone, of all innocent people on both sides. I - I apologize. This is my story. This is what I’m immersed in. Thank you very much."

When the 429 page Goldstone Report was issued, not one word of Dr. Siderer’s testimony was included, although Goldstone himself had invited her to appear and testify. Her name appeared once, in reference to a technical matter.

Nothing of Dr. Siderer's story appeared, but page after page detailed the suffering of the Arabs Goldstone finds so much more compelling.

When I was in seventh grade, I plastered a bumper sticker on the bumper of my dad’s car: “Get US out of the UN”.

That was right then, it’s right now – for both Israel and the US.


  1. How right you were, and are! The U.N. is precisely the opposite of what it was meant to be. Historically it replaced the League of Nations, which the U.S. never joined, and was meant to correct the flaws in that ineffective organization. But instead of ineffectiveness the world got a very effective tool for the promulgation of the policies of backward dictatorial regimes which constitute its majority. Every decent value, such as human rights, has been redefined and turned on its head. The U.N. is singularly responsible for the situation and conditions in Gaza and cannot therefore be expected to condemn it. It singularly has bred,fostered and maintained the poverty, overcrowding, despair, destructiveness, corruption and terror of Gaza.
    It's high time to put an end to this organization. Every self-respecting enlightened democracy should pull out NOW!

  2. Bibi's saying the same thing: "The basic principle of the legitimate right of a democratic country to retaliate against terror is being crushed by a body belonging to the U.N. and this is a terrible blow to the organization,” Netanyahu said.

    "There is, once again, a danger that the U.N. will return to the dark days in which it compared Zionism to racism,” the Prime Minister said, adding that “the Goldstone Report will make the U.N. irrelevant.”

    Remember that Bibi was once Israel's UN Ambassador, so when he addresses the UN, he's talking to people he's known personally for many years. Still, there's no sugarcoating in what he says.

    How refreshing! It's been a long time since I've been able to be proud of an elected leader.

    Of course I'd like him to be stronger and push for all-out settlement in Judea and Samaria, but in the scheme of things, Bibi is doing awfully well. Kol hakavod, Bibi!