ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER/PRODUCER: As President Bush continues his Mideast tour, Israeli forces launched an attack on the Gaza Strip. At least 17 people are dead, including the son of Mahmoud al-Zahar, former foreign minister of Hamas. The Associated Press reports the latest violence has seen Gaza suffer one of its bloodiest days in recent times, as Israel’s ongoing onslaught in the sovereign territory continues. Senior Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyah remains defiant.
ISMAIL HANIYAH, SENIOR HAMAS POLITICAL LEADER (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Even if we sacrificed ourselves one by one, leaders, leaders’ sons, and our people’s sons. But shame, all shame upon those who shake hands with occupation leaders, those who sit with the occupier during these crimes and massacres.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev claims the attack was provoked.
MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: And, unfortunately, every day over the last weeks and months we’ve had continuous terrorist activities, mortar shells, rockets, small arms fire from Gaza into Israel. They’re trying to kill our people. And it’s our obligation to do what we can to protect our people.
The New York Times reports the escalation in violence came a day after Israeli negotiators and Palestinian counterparts representing the West Bank leadership started peace talks and after the prime minister of Israel, Ehmud Olmert, seemed to rule out the immediate prospect of a large-scale military operation in the Gaza strip. The Real News spoke to Osamah Khalil, who believes US and Israeli intentions are to destroy Hamas at all costs.
January 11, 2008
Unfortunately, what we’re seeing is an attempt by the United States and Israel to crush Hamas rather than talk to it, and the Palestinian people living in Gaza and, frankly, living in the West Bank as well, who were put in between, and who are under a lot of pressure, and who are being told that you have two choices: either rise up against Hamas or suffer.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.