Gaza conflict escalates

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Sameh Habeeb: More than 100 Palestinians killed in Israeli attack

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Story Transcript

ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: The conflict in Gaza continues to escalate. Following a five-day-long Israeli offensive, at least 100 Palestinians were killed. The Palestinian Authority has stated that it will pull out of peace talks, while at the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the talks will continue. The Real News spoke to Sameh Habeeb, a Palestinian journalist in Gaza City.

VOICE OF SAMEH HABEEB, PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST: The Israelis carried out this operation in a response of a Qassam rocket. This Qassam rocket killed just only one Israeli. After a day and a night, Israelis just invaded the northern area of the Gaza Strip. There is a densely populated area in which more than 100,000 lived in less than two kilometres. So every bullet, every shell was killing more than two or three people. And imagine this happening for two days in consequence. They were just shelling and firing without putting in mind that they were killing the people. So they were crazy about this. In the first day they killed about 30, and in the other day they killed more than 60. The overall number today and yesterday reached about 118, because we found many dead bodies among debris and among the places after the Israelis’ withdrawal from the region. In the Shifa hospital at the second day, there was a severe shortage, first in doctors, second in medical staff, and also in medications. The other day, Israelis allowed just a few vans to get into the Gaza Strip and to support these hospitals. But the situation is still bad. The government of Hamas too asked the Egyptian side to intervene and to take some patients to Egypt, because the Palestinian hospitals here in the Gaza strip aren’t able to respond and to deal with the big number of those casualties. Yeah. Egypt hosted more than 70 of those injured people. They traveled yesterday to Egypt. Still the prices of the available foods are too high, and people cannot afford these prices. There is a power blackout because of the shortage of fuel. And most of Gaza Strip [suffer] from this for three or two days in consequence. There is also a bad need for raw materials for building and reconstruction. Many projects of building houses are disabled and suspended now. Even couples are not able to marry, because they need homes, and there is no concrete and raw materials to build these homes. Old factories, industrial utilities, and workshops are being suspended, stopped, and shut down because there are no raw materials. And more than 150 employees and daily workers became jobless. The Israelis came and they invaded another area of the Gaza Strip to stop the Qassam attacks. But after the withdrawal, two Qassam rockets fall down in the Sderot and the Ashkelon region and settlements inside Israel. So they did not succeed. And Hamas take it as a victory, because in fact they didn’t succeed to stop this. And they are going to make another scale of killing and violence again. Since Hamas came to power in 2005, Israel has said that “We will not recognize Hamas government until Hamas recognize us as Israeli state.” And Hamas said, “We cannot accept Israel until it gives us our right—the right to return, and the borders, and Jerusalem.” This is the point [inaudible] between Hamas and Israel. So both of them are not able to exist together or to convince each other.

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