Why Hamas Rejected the Ceasefire

On Monday night the press became aware that a ceasefire proposal was being crafted by the Egyptian government in negotiation with Israel and the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The proposal was delivered to the Hamas leadership shortly before the deadline was to take into effect, and did not include the demands the Hamas party put forward already on the second day of the fighting, conditions that would score the group political capital, namely – the release of its rearrested fmembers, jailed in recent weeks by Israel, the lifting of the 8 year-long blockade on the strip, and the end of fire. When Hamas’ main political rival – The Islamic Jihad – announced they reject the Egyptian proposal, Hamas followed suit, leading to international criticism. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky spoke to Gaza-based blogger Nalan al Sarraj

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.LIA TARACHANSKY, TRNN PRODUCER: Wednesday opened the tenth day of bombardment on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army and the return of rockets launched by militant groups in various Israeli urban centers. Nearly 200 Gazans died in the aerial and naval bombardment. On the Israeli side, the first fatality, of a 37-year-old man, occurred on Tuesday when a rocket exploded near the southern border with the Strip.

The Real News spoke to Nalan Sarraj, a Gaza-based blogger, shortly after her house was bombed nearby.

NALAN AL SARRAJ, GAZA-BASED BLOGGER, TWITTER @NALANSARRAJ: Recently, for the last three days, they’re targeting, like, apartments where it belongs to Hamas people or, I don’t know, even–[well, this is?] my area, but [I think?] other areas they, like, target houses with people inside [incompr.] my area they targeted the building next to mine. And this morning they targeted the house, the building behind my building.

You don’t know where they’re targeting. You know you’re, like, waiting for your destiny, you’re waiting for your death. I [follow up with?] my friends [incompr.] if there is anyone I know died recently.

I don’t know how to describe it, actually. I’m trying through all these days, like, whenever anyone, like, talks to me about it, I try to find the right words. You can’t really find–like, it’s like I never thought I’m age 23 and I would think about death that easily. You know? You just–I’ve reached that far where I expect myself to be dying anytime or any moment.

TARACHANSKY: The Israeli cabinet hasn’t yet decided whether to launch a ground invasion, but mobilized 20,000 reservists to the border for training. On Sunday, residents of the refugee camps in the northern Gaza Strip were asked to evacuate their homes, hinting the ground invasion wasn’t far. But despite telling the residents to evacuate, the Israeli government refused to open the Erez border crossing, as did Egypt with the Rafah Crossing on the South, locking those who flee inside the bombed Gaza Strip.

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AL SARRAJ: They either go to the UN schools or they connect with relatives or friends in downtown Gaza, which is a bit safer than the north and south.

TARACHANSKY: In Cast Lead, Israel bombed to the UN schools. Why do people think they’re safer?

AL SARRAJ: The thing is, over here nobody’s safe.

TARACHANSKY: Did you evacuate?

AL SARRAJ: I live in Gaza City. I live in the center. I don’t live in north.

TARACHANSKY: Are you being bombed as well?

AL SARRAJ: Yes.

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TARACHANSKY: On Monday night, the press became aware that a ceasefire proposal was being crafted by the Egyptian government in negotiation with Israel and the former British prime minister Tony Blair. The proposal was delivered to the Hamas leadership shortly before the deadline was to take into effect and didn’t include the demands the Hamas Party put forward already on the second day of the fighting, conditions that would score the group political capital, namely the release of its rearrested members jailed in recent weeks by Israel, the lifting of the eight-year-long blockade on the strip, and the end of fire. When Hamas’s main political rival, the Islamic Jihad, announced they reject the Egyptian proposal, Hamas followed suit, leading to international criticism.

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AL SARRAJ: My father [was weak?], but at that time the blockade was very strict and they didn’t let anyone in or out of Gaza, and he needed a better medical care, and there were no chance. So I was just watching my dad for three months dying before my eyes because we couldn’t get him out of Gaza.

I’m not a supporter of Hamas. I have different perspectives of theirs. But to me there is no right excuse to kill anyone. And what Israel is doing is not right. And when people over here–it’s not only Hamas is not accepting the truth; people over here not accepting the truth, because if you imagine the life that we live over here under the blockade, you’ll not even understand how we’re surviving through all of this.

TARACHANSKY: For The Real News, I’m Lia Tarachansky in Tel Aviv.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.