As the Israeli siege of Gaza continued on Friday of last week, Palestinian refugee Fatima Helow contacted a friend who lives in Gaza City. He explained the situation to her. He did not want to give his name for fear of Israeli action against him
‘The Israelis launched their operation three days ago and are trying to widen their military operation against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
They claim they want to free a soldier who was kidnapped by a Palestinian group.
The first thing they attacked was the infrastructure - such as the power station, which supplies 60-70 percent of Gaza’s electricity.
The bridges which link the two parts of Gaza, and Gaza airport, have been destroyed.
Opinions are divided among Palestinians in Gaza.
Some people consider the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier as something to be proud of.
Israeli soldiers are killing Palestinians every day without paying the price. Israel is insulting the Palestinian Authority and boycotting it after Palestinians elected a Hamas government earlier this year.
Other Palestinians are saying, “We can’t do the same things Israel does because it is militarily stronger than us.”
Israel has been bombing Gaza continuously since the beginning of its military operation against us. It is trying to make us live in fear.
Cutting the power means there is no water.
Destroying the bridges and Gaza airport does not help in solving the problem. Israel is trying to make the situation worse.
The power station is owned by a US company and doesn’t have any link with the Palestinian Authority. Despite this Israel attacked it to punish the Palestinian people.
It will take four to seven months to rebuild the power station at a cost of $17-20 million.
One of the bridges linking the two parts of Gaza has been destroyed.
This bridge was built after the Palestinian Authority came into being as a result of the Oslo agreement.
An old bridge for pedestrians has also been destroyed.
This means that I can’t go and visit my brother who lives in the south of Gaza. There is no other way to get to his house.
The border with Egypt by the town of Rafah has also been closed. Israel has warned international observers to leave Rafah.
There are 450-500 Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side of the border.
Because all the borders are closed the Palestinians will starve.
Israel is trying to punish the Palestinian people. It wants the Palestinians to put pressure on the Hamas government to give up the soldier.
Israel’s aim is to destroy the Palestinian infrastructure and end up with a non-viable Palestinian state.
This became especially clear after Israel kidnapped four Palestinian ministers and 20 members of the Palestinian Authority on Thursday of last week in Ramallah.’
Siege unites the people
Charities are rushing to support the Palestinian people. Ahmed from the charity Interpal told Socialist Worker, “We’re in touch with our representatives in Palestine.
“People are severely disturbed and can hardly sleep. You can get very dispirited watching what’s happening from the outside, but the spirit of the Palestinian people is higher than you might think.
“The Palestinian prime minister made a speech at last Friday’s prayers. He said the aim of the Israeli operation was to make the Palestinians surrender and get rid of the Hamas government.
“The Israelis destroyed the power station that supplies much of the Gaza Strip’s electricity. The rest is provided from Israel. If it wanted it could switch it all off.
“With the borders closed no one can get any water. Many people have not been paid their wages. There have been serious clashes with Israel in the West Bank.
“We are trying to respond to the humanitarian needs.
“The Palestinian people are coming together in solidarity. There has been agreements between the two main factions. The people are very politically-minded and won’t allow Israel to divide them.
“Previously there were clashes between Fatah and Hamas, but now everyone is in the same boat – locked in Gaza. Everyone is united.”
For more go to www.interpal.org