Israel has expanded its murderous air attack on Gaza into a full ground assault. With all borders sealed, 1.5 million Palestinians are trapped – with little electricity or fuel and severe shortages of food, clean water and medicines – and facing Israel’s military might.
Gaza’s morgues are filling up and its hospitals are overflowing – with the injured queuing in corridors to be treated with dwindling medical supplies.
Israel has excluded all journalists from Gaza and phone lines have been disrupted by the bombing. But Socialist Worker managed to speak to two Gazans on Monday – Amjad Shawa, the Palestinian NGO network coordinator for Gaza, and Naji Shurab, a politics professor at Al-Azhar university.
Amjad said, “During the ten days since the air bombardment started some 15,000 people have been made homeless. More than 100 children have been killed. This is collective punishment and collective killing.
“My house has had no electricity for ten days. At night I huddle with my children in the living room. We sit in the darkness listening to the explosions.
“I went to the baker this morning to get bread for my family. There were 3,000 people queuing. There is no cooking gas or electricity or fuel. We are living minute by minute – but we still hope.”
Israel claims it is trying to stop Hamas firing rockets. Yet Israel’s agenda is the destruction of the democratically-elected Hamas government.
An Israeli military spokesman said that “anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target”.
This means that all of Gaza’s infrastructure has become a “legitimate target”.
Israel has justified its destruction of Gaza’s schools, universities and mosques by claiming that Hamas is storing weapons in them.
Gaza City’s main vegetable market was destroyed on Sunday as people were shopping for food.
Amjad told Socialist Worker, “Most of the main bridges have been destroyed.
“The office of the Union of Health Work Committees was destroyed yesterday – there is nothing left but a huge crater.
“Israeli aircraft seem to be targeting ambulances. Many have been destroyed.”
Amjad’s observation has been backed by many sources including Physicians for Human Rights in Israel which noted that al-Awda hospital was unable to send out ambulances without them coming under fire from Israeli gunship helicopters.
Norwegian volunteer Dr Erik Fosse told the CNN news network that he estimated that 20 percent of the more than 500 people killed so far were children.
Professor Shurab fears for his family. “Many civilians have been killed in the attacks,” he said. “The bombs don’t distinguish between resistance fighters and civilians.”
Amjad is furious at the Western media’s acceptance of Israeli propaganda. He said, “The Israelis talk about how they left Gaza in 2005 – but that’s not true. They never stopped occupying us.”
Professor Shurab said his message to Israel – and to world leaders – is: “Stop this aggression, stop this war.
“We want a ceasefire – but a simple ceasefire is not an option. There can be no real peace until there is respect for the rights of Palestinians.”
He explained the importance of international demonstrations: “It makes it easier to believe that this will all end. It raises our hopes.”
Amjad said, “You are marching for the next generation, the children who are being bombed.
“People must realise we are not animals. We are human beings struggling for our rights. We will remain here. They will not make us leave our land.”
Stop the massacre: Israel out of Gaza
London, Saturday 10 January, 12.30pm,
Speakers Corner, Hyde Park
Edinburgh, Saturday 10 January,
12.30pm, East Market St