Israel's Onslaught: One of Its Bloodiest Attacks on Palestinians in 60 Years
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GL: Yes, I think that Israel had this legitimacy to protect its citizens in the southern part of Israel, and it had the legitimacy to do something, as the Israelis all expect the government to do, but this doing something does not mean this brutal and violent operation. The diplomatic efforts were just in the beginning, and I believe we could have got to a new truce without this bloodshed.
And even about the military reaction, you know, there are all kinds of stages. Immediately to send dozens of jets to bomb a total helpless civilian society with hundreds of bombs -- just today, they were burying five sisters. I mean, this is unheard of. This cannot go on like this. And this has nothing to do with self-defense or with retaliation even. It went out of proportion, exactly like two-and-a-half years ago in Lebanon.
AG: Dr. Moussa El-Haddad in Gaza City, the responsibility of Hamas here and the response of the people of Gaza? Right now, a quote of Tzipi Livni, who just recently said, "Unfortunately, in this kind of attack, there are some civilian casualties, but Israel took all the necessary actions to warn the civilians before the attacks to leave the places they know that Hamas stays."
MH: Well, it's not some civilians. All those who are dead now, most of them are civilians. And a question that keeps coming up, people are saying Israel has the right to protect itself from the Hamas rockets. What about the West Bank? Does Hamas -- does West Bank has rockets that they throw on Israel? Of course, none. And look at what's happening in the West Bank, in Hebron, Nablus and Ramallah and everywhere. People are being killed almost every day. And I just cannot explain to you the situation right now.
Hamas, as an organization, was, as Dr. Barghouti just mentioned, this government was democratically elected in front of the eyes of the whole world, and this is the only democratic election that happened in the Middle East, really democratic. And people -- why just the world didn't give this government a chance to prove itself? It was not going to throw rockets or just -- when they had this truce and the ceasefire, who broke it? It was Israel. We had a siege for one-and-a-half months, nothing allowed in, no medicines, no food, no nothing. And still, Hamas and other organizations did not throw any rockets. Israel kept on coming, and they killed 23 people in three weeks. Of course, this provoked Hamas, and they just did not renew this issue of ceasefire, because it was useless.
JG: I'd like to ask also Fida Qishta back into the conversation -- this continuing occupation and encirclement and the problems that you face in Gaza, how do persevere, you and other residents there, day to day, manage to get through?
FQ: Well, for Palestinians, in general, they face a lot from the Israeli occupation. And if you don't find a house in the whole Gaza Strip that isn't damaged by losing a son or a father or a daughter or a mother -- we used to face lots of problems with the Israelis. And me, myself, I'm one of the people and a person who lost their house in 2004. We managed to continue our lives. We managed to build a new house, and now we survived. But the problem of the other people who can't build new houses or even afford food for their families.
Palestinians try to be strong. But under these attacks that the Israelis now -- actually, the war that Israelis started with Palestinians in Gaza, it's really unbelievable and not acceptable. It's genocide. And all the world should stop and say to Israel, "Stop it. That's enough. The Gazan people chose this government, and you should accept it." And for us, as Gazans, we try to continue our lives, no matter what happens. We keep the hope, and we keep the struggle for the future and for our families. We don't think, for example, if the Israelis destroy a house or kill a son or a daughter, that means our life is ended. We try to survive and continue our life. We try to do our best with it, but Israel is trying every single day, every single minute, to destroy the Palestinians' hope. And I don't know what these normal Palestinians did for them, what these civilians did for them. So we try to manage and continue our life. This is what we try to do. No matter what, we try to continue our lives.