Gazans Support Resistance Despite Heavy Toll: Israel Target All Civilians, When Can't Reach The Resistance
18 July 2014
By Mohammed Omer
The price of resistance may be high, and getting
higher by the day. On Friday alone, 55 Gazans were
killed, as shelling decimated two entire families. The
paradox of Gaza is that as the death toll increases,
so does the defiance of its people.
"We have to make a choice: either they finish us or we
finish them,"66-year-old Amnah Odah told MEE:
"This situation cannot continue, or return as it was
11 days ago - under Israel's 8-years-long siege -
where life was equally, if not worse, long-term."
When asked what she would say to Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu if she had 30 seconds, she replies,
"You brought this on - there is a limit to Palestinian
and human patience, after all.
"Putting Gaza on a diet of malnutrition and collective
punishment, cutting off water, interfering with
salaries, blocking other basic human rights and not
letting basic construction supplies come through the
Rafah crossing is unbearable," says Odah. "Of course
this is causing people to revolt and stand up for
"Oppressed Arabs revolted against previous tyrannical
regimes. The Israeli occupation is just a continuance
of that; stealing our land, wrecking our economy,
insulting our identity for 66 years of occupation and
blockade," Odah adds, as she lies on a simple mattress
in a modest house in the Rafah refugee camp.
Odah is not alone in her feelings, despite knowing
there will be more loss and many more casualties on
the Palestinian side if fighting continues.
"If we know those killed were adults fighting on the
front, I would be proud, but when I see so many
children dying, I am heartbroken," she says.
"We wonder if Israel is killing children to send a
message that no one is safe. I think Netanyahu made it
clear that nobody is immune in Gaza - I think
targeting civilians is meant to disrupt and terrorise
Mohammed Joudeh, a 45-year-old, father of four also
thinks Israel's goal is to intimidate people, in order
for them to turn against the resistance, and give
Israel the chance to continue its unreasonable demands
and blockade. However, reality on the ground seems to
indicate that the Israeli offensive which began on 8
July is having the opposite effect.
"People here are supporting the Resistance, which is
obvious in all areas, despite our suffering," says
Joudeh does not think that Israel will succeed in its
latest attempts at intimidation. He says that as hard
as it may be, attacking civilians again is losing its
impact. After so many years of these attacks,
Palestinians feel that the only way to gain national
rights and improve living conditions is to resist, he
"For decades Israel has never offered something free
of charge, you have to fight to get what's yours," he
But despite their perseverance, civilians caught on
the front line of Israel's military attacks for the
past 14 years also say it's time to end the bombing
and insist that they are tired of living in perpetual
fear. 45-year-old Mohammed Abu Shalob is one of the
many who says he has had enough of Israel's artillery
The latest ground attack launched late Thursday,
forced him and his 10 family members to flee their
home which lies right next to the ruins of the Gaza
International Airport, in Rafah. Miraculously the
whole family is still alive, although still very
shaken by the incident.
"We were indoors when six artillery shells hit our
house," says Abu Shalob. "One wall collapsed around
us, forcing the whole family to run in the middle of
the night to find shelter from Israel's tank shells."
Four of Abu Shalob's neighbours, however, were
"We had to call ambulances as we couldn't walk because
the ground was covered with fragments of nail-shards
from inside the missile," says Abu Shalob.
"Nor could we breathe properly from the white gas
which came out of the rockets, making our mouths dry,"
he adds, while lying down on the soccer field of an
UNRWA school, where many of the displaced have taken
shelter. While the UN is providing the most basic
rations it has been caught unprepared for the scale of
the emergency, with many of the displaced complaining
that there are inadequate food provisions for the
suhur and iftar meals of Ramadan.
In each classroom there are usually around 50 women
sleeping. Men are scattered in the soccer field, while
others are out on the street corners, some sleeping on
their sandals, others on shirts and empty cartoons of
Even the UN schools though do not necessarily provide
desperately sought shelter from the shelling. During
the conflict ambulances have been fired upon and
forced to retreat. Abu Shalob says that he was forced
to walk a few hundred kilometres to a place where
ambulances could be reached.
While Israel has previously been accused of
purposefully targeting civilians and civilian
infrastructure, Abu Shalob says that, at least for
him, this war feels different from the 2008-2009 or
2012 wars. "Before, we didn't have Israel's artillery
directly targeting our homes," he says.
Another disturbing development, according to Abu
Shalob is the alleged use of tall buildings by Israeli
forces, who use them as sniper stations.
Joudeh has also noted this tactic and says it leaves
Palestinians with little choice
"After all, this does not mean that people are willing
to go to ceasefire - it's either we live in full
dignity, or have no real life," says Joudeh.
For him, technology has brought up a new Palestinian
generation that is unwilling to accept the humiliation
that their families endured under Israel's occupation.
"We have done it for 66 years, Israel has to realize
enough is enough," he adds.
But the price of resistance is high. According to
Palestinian sources the last 24 hours alone have seen
Israel launch 260 missiles and rockets, while
Palestinian factions have sent about 105 rockets and
mortars to Israel. The Palestinian death toll in Gaza
is now fast approaching 300, including many children.
One Israeli civilian and one Israeli solider have also
In Abu Yousef al-Najjar hospital in Gaza, doctors
announce a state of emergency as more people are
evacuated and taken to new locations.
"Since early evening, we've been targeted by Israeli
artillery, with leaflets dropped, ordering us to
evacuate our homes," 38-year-old Hani al-Mahmom told
the Middle East Eye.
The fear and confusion is palpable on the ground. As
the shelling resumes, Rafah's population rushes around
quickly, trying to flee to six UN schools in the city
that are the only make-shift shelter they have.
Mahmom and his family were among those fleeing in the
"Two days ago, I was at my home, despite bombing, but
now I am displaced. We are still resilient and
supporting Gaza's Resistance - but we are also still
victims of Israel's cruelty," he says.
"If we were the ones launching rockets, I would accept
Israel returning to target our homes, but we are not."
The increasing number of targeted civilians is raising
questions among international groups about Israel's
intentions but, Mahmom believes that Israel's war does
not intend to break Hamas, rather just weaken it.
He says that his children will not forget these
sleepless nights when they grow up and he fears that
this can only jeopardises the chance for peace in the
region. When a 7-year-old knows that Israel is
besieging him at such a tender age, there can be no
peace, Mahmom explains.
"Israeli troop anger is aimed at all civilians, when
it can't reach the Resistance."