Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gaza Report 5

This report is the fifth in a series on the current confrontation between Gaza and Israel.
Note: Thus far 508 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza during Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’. During fierce fighting in eastern Gaza on Saturday night, 13 Israeli soldiers lost their lives. The number of Israelis killed to date is unclear but it is a total of at least 20. Hamas’ Qassam Brigades have kidnapped one Israeli soldier.

ISRAEL: The following is the perspective of two Israeli women (as at 11 am GMT this morning). Both are members of the NCF and both are active in promoting peace:

It is not easy for everyone. We hope it will end quickly. It needs to stop from both sides. We need to hope and pray that it will do so. The situation is really bad, the worst we have experienced. Civil society activism has become really difficult. There is a lot of racism around now. People’s reactions are very violent. It is very hard and depressing. Everything is so polarized. Palestinians on the West Bank we have known for years have now refused to talk to us. It is so depressing. The whole situation is terribly messy.

GAZA: The following comment comes from the NCF office in Gaza. Again the words are quoted verbatim (as at 11:30 am GMT this morning).

The situation is becoming more and more difficult, especially since at least 13 Israeli soldiers have been killed Saturday night. Today morning it was bad in Khan Yunis in the southern region of the Gaza Strip. 28 people were killed there, all from one family. We have more than 3,200 injured so far. Sometimes even now there are exchanges of fire between Hamas and the Israelis. There are still heavy tanks in Gaza particularly in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza city and in the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza Strip. So far 160,000 people have left their homes. 2,200 houses have been completely destroyed. 16,000 have been party destroyed. The humanitarian situation is bad. Maybe Ramallah will send some trucks of medicine tomorrow. It will be a catastrophe if this continues. There is talking still going on but until now there has been no result.

GAZA: The following comment comes to the NCF from a member of the Gaza “House of Wisdom” think-tank (again verbatim).
Gaza now is facing very dangerous threats by the Israeli-Egyptian blockade which is growing day by day and exacerbating the situation of Gaza. The situation is escalating every day.

USA: The following comment comes from former State Department diplomat, Jonathan Müller.

The thing about Israel is that it is a democracy, with a diversity of opinion, and somewhere in that diversity there is an Israeli Dr Klerk. But where, and how to bring him (or her) forward. For sure there has to be an honest counterpart on the Palestinian side.

COMMENT: Today's comment is from the OneVoice movement:

The OneVoice Movement issued the following joint statement today on behalf of OneVoice Israel and OneVoice Palestine:

OneVoice once again reaffirms its call for both parties to urgently seek a ceasefire agreement that de-escalates this increasingly dangerous situation and avoids further loss of life. The tragic events of recent weeks show how unstable and unjust this status quo is.

It is essential that following any agreement, we do not allow the situation to merely revert to that same status quo, which by its very nature, guarantees another round of violence. We urge Israelis, Palestinians, and international parties to be both creative and bold in pursuing an arrangement that allows the citizens of Palestine and of Israel the dignity, freedom, and security necessary to forge ahead in achieving the only thing that can truly end this dynamic: an end to occupation and conflict, and the establishment of a two-state solution.
The following, slightly more subjective comment, comes from the Palestinian ex-NCF member Sharif Nashashibi:

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