“There are F-16 planes and helicopters hovering over me as I speak. There are large numbers of tanks throughout Rafah and Gaza. Fear comes with the night. The sonic booms of Israeli warplanes are terrifying the population in Gaza.”
This is what Mohammed Omer, a Palestinian journalist who runs the website Rafah Today, told Socialist Worker from Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Monday of this week.
Israel’s siege of Gaza, which follows Palestinians taking an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, hostage, has made the life of all Palestinians worse. Israel has used this event to punish the Palestinians collectively and undermine the democratically elected Hamas government.
Israel seized a number of Palestinian MPs and minister last week. There were threats of an even more brutal Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip as Socialist Worker went to press.
Mohammed continued, “The bridges that connect the north and south of Gaza have been destroyed. There is little water or power. It is a miserable situation.
“The border to Egypt is closed. There are hundreds of Palestinians on the other side waiting to get into Gaza. Some of them are old men and women. They are having to sleep in the streets. They have no food or water.
“People feel very stressed in Gaza. There are psychological problems developing among children. The sonic booms are making pregnant women give birth early.
“This is psychological warfare. But people are keeping their spirits up and continuing to resist the occupation.
“British people must put pressure on Israel. These attacks are hurting all Palestinians. This is the beginning of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Israel has to open the border.
“The helicopters over my head now are Western-made with Western bombs. The West is supporting the Israeli government.
“People have to protest about this and make the world aware of what’s going on here. The life of Palestinians has to go on. Our children were born to live and not to die.”
Ziyad Abu Amr, an independent member of the Palestinian legislative council from Gaza City, told Socialist Worker, “The Israeli incursions are continuing.
“This is all over the question of one Israeli soldier who was captured in a war situation. I would like to see him released, but the world should not be turned over for one person. There are thousands of Palestinians, many of them women and children, in Israel’s jails.
“Israel arrests people every day. Life is impossible here. The children are terrified. It is bad enough with the siege, but the Israeli raids are making things even worse. There is the threat of an all-out incursion.
“The British people need to ask their leaders for better treatment for the Palestinians.”