Posted 3 months ago on July 22, 2014, 5:35 p.m. EST by flip
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AARON MATÉ: Sharif, as we wrap, is there support amongst Palestinians that you speak to for Hamas’s strategy, which is basically to continue the violence until Israel agrees to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: From the vast majority of Palestinians that I’ve spoken to, they support—they wouldn’t say they support Hamas, but they support the resistance. They support some kind of fighting back against this brutal military assault. They support, they say, the resistance until their conditions are met. And the primary, the number one condition everyone mentions is the lifting of the siege. The siege affects every aspect of life here in Gaza, from the water to power, to jobs, to food, to freedom of movement, to very basic human rights. And they feel that if the ceasefire—if this conflict ends without a return—or it returns back to the same situation that it was, with Gaza under siege, that their lives—you know, they need some change in their lives. And so, yeah, I mean, I think—I wouldn’t say Hamas, as a political movement, has the support, but as a resistance movement, that it is right now, yes, most Palestinians are unified behind it, even those who are very critical of it. Even political opponents who are members of the Fatah party say they support the resistance in this time of conflict.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Sharif, I know we may lose you by satellite at any moment in Gaza City, but when you talk about the siege, it’s not something that’s covered very much in the United States. Can you just elaborate more fully what you mean when Palestinians say "lift the siege"?
SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, Gaza is a thin strip of land that is bordered mostly by Israel and also by Egypt, and it has a big seacoast, and Palestinians can’t get in or out of Gaza. They’re prevented by Israel. They’re prevented by Egypt, which largely executes U.S. and Israeli policy. And foods, basic goods, the right to import and export, all of these things are banned to them, and so this has devastated the economy here. It has devastated lives. People feel trapped. They often speak of how they live in the biggest open-air prison in the world. And even the sea, fishermen cannot go out more than a couple of kilometers to go fish, where Israeli warships await them. So, you really feel it.
And you really feel this war exacerbating all those effects. And you feel—you hear drones in the air. You hear the booms of the ships. And even if you wanted to leave, you couldn’t. Even if journalists wanted to leave today, they couldn’t. Erez crossing was closed, the border with Israel, and the Egyptian border is closed, as well. So it really feels—and there’s no shelters here. There’s no air raids—sorry, there’s no air defense system. There’s no sirens. There’s really nowhere to run. You don’t know where is safe. And people are dying inside their homes and inside hospitals—not from their wounds, but from being bombed and wounded again by the Israeli military.