Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip is causing “unprecedented horror,” a Palestinian living under the bombs has told Socialist Worker.
Salma, who lives in the besieged strip of land, said the bombardment was even worse than Israel’s assault in 2014.
Israel pounded Gaza with airstrikes and shells throughout the night, forcing Palestinians living close to the border to flee. It boasted that it had bombed 150 sites, which it claimed were linked to Hamas, the resistance group that governs the strip.
Yet more than 830 Palestinians were injured last night alone. And some 200 homes and 24 schools have been destroyed by Israel’s bombs in the last five days.
“Most people I know in Gaza thought they were going to die,” said Salma. “Everybody was surprised when it was over at the end of the night. In only 40 minutes a huge number of people were killed and injured.”
She added, “They wait for night to come and then they start their indiscriminate bombing on civilians. They don’t do such crimes in the day because they feel more comfortable when they bomb people in the dark.
“The horror and terror is in everyone’s hearts.”
Salma said the bombings were different to those in in 2014, when Israel sometimes gave warnings before striking a building.
“In 2014 they made some attacks on civilians.” She said. “Now all the attacks are on civilians. In 2014 they fired warning rockets or even called by phone before striking houses.
“Now They don’t give any alarm before destroying houses. They don’t care if it’s full of inhabitants. This criminality has no limits.”
She added, “Near the border in the east of the Gaza Strip they’re using shells from tanks. These fall randomly on the people who live nearby.”
Israel’s politicians know what they’re doing. Defence minister Benny Gantz was the general in charge of the assault in 2014, which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.
Earlier this week, he threatened, “Gaza residents, the last time that we met on Eid al-Fitr, I was chief of staff during Operation Protective Edge. Ever since, Gaza is still trying to rebuild itself.
“If Hamas does not stop its violence, the strike of 2021 will be harder and more painful than that of 2014.”
Salma said, “In 2014 all Gaza was traumatised. When we hear thunder in winter we’re scared because it sounds like bombing.
“People in Gaza have not recovered, and people who lost their homes have not found shelter until now. They are suffering from the economic situation in Gaza, which is a catastrophe.
“Unemployment in Gaza is the highest in the world—people cannot find an income. Then, in these very dark situations, people here can despair. People feel that being dead can be better than living in such a way.”
Salma called on people in Britain to “be part of the movement” in solidarity with Palestinians.
“I hope people in Britain can understand that Palestinians have a twisted image in the media,” she said. “Israel tries to pretend it is threatened by the Palestinian rockets. They try to portray things as if it is a war between two parties.
“I’m a victim—don’t act like I’m a criminal. Palestinians are just defending ourselves. How could you expect me to be peaceful and say, please come in and take my home? It is asking us to be something other than human.”
“Israel acts very comfortably without any pressure,” she added. “The absence of international pressure makes Israel more able to do criminal things to the Palestinians.
“That’s what I want British people to do—to be part of the movement for the Palestinian people.”