Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

‘Your sons have won the battle against Israel’

Posted by Alessandro Accorsi su 20 gennaio, 2009

Matt Bradley, Foreign Correspondent

The National-UAE

GAZA CITY // Mohammed al Sherafy, a Hamas parliamentarian, climbed onto a pile of sand to speak to a crowd gathered for the funeral for four young men yesterday. He could not have been addressing a more receptive audience.

“My message to the families of the martyrs is that your sons have won the battle against Israel,” Mr Sherafy told the residents of Beit Lahiya, one of several Gaza City neighbourhoods devastated during more than three weeks of Israeli aerial bombings and the subsequent ground invasion. “Congratulations to those who have launched rockets into Israel. As for Tzipi Livni, who said ‘I will change the situation in Gaza,’ I’m telling her: ‘You and your government will go and Hamas will remain.’”As dawn broke over Gaza City yesterday morning about 24 hours after Hamas called its ceasefire, the crack of shellfire could still be heard off the Mediterranean coast and the hum of surveillance drones was audible throughout the day.

Many Gazans ventured out to survey the damage.

In Jabalya, parts of which were completely levelled by combined aerial and ground attacks, residents seemed at a loss for what they would do next. Ibrahim Khadee Mohammed Khadee, 40, was standing in front of his home, which lay completely flattened.

In interviews with residents of Gaza yesterday, many expressed profound relief about Hamas’s announcement of a week-long ceasefire. But their fatigue with the war, which took more than 1,300 Gazan lives and injured thousands more, was mixed with a determination borne of years of failed peace negotiations.

They said the resistance must continue as long as Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip remains in place.

“I am with the ceasefire. We are with the ceasefire. But it must be followed by steps to open the border,” said a 25-year-old man, who said he was a Hamas policeman, while he sat with friends next to what remained of the Al Abbas Police Station in downtown Gaza City. He said his uncle had been killed when the office, along with most Gazan security facilities, was attacked in late December during the first days of the assault.

“As long as the borders are not open and there are still sanctions, the resistance will exist.”

Mr Khadee said he had not been affiliated with any militia organisation before Israel’s military destroyed his home, but that he would now commit himself to resisting Israel.
Although he welcomed the temporary ceasefire, his homelessness, combined with the Israeli blockade, which prevents most goods from entering Gaza, has rendered him despondent.

Hamas “did not achieve any of their goals. Yes, I am angry. I am asking for a better life. I want the borders to be opened and the sanctions to end,” he said. “I have nothing. I would take more bombing if it meant that I could live a better life.”

Several Gazans interviewed yesterday said they believed Hamas had emerged victorious simply because it had survived the Israeli war machine, which far out-mans and out-guns the Islamist group and the several smaller Islamist militias that also participated in the fighting over the past three weeks.

“On the air and on the ground, [Hamas] is weak. In spite of this, we are fighting with religious force,” said Abu Mohammed, 31, who attended the funeral in Beit Lahiya yesterday. Abu Mohammed described himself as a member of Hamas. “They are weak because they love life and are afraid to die.”

That message – one that measures mere survival against a far superior military force as tantamount to victory – was also echoed in Mr Sherafy’s funeral speech.

“We say Israel has demolished mosques and houses and killed children and women. But Hamas won the battle by continuing to fire rockets,” Mr Sherafy said. “The only way to freedom is resistance. And we will keep resisting Israel.”

Of the four young men who were buried in a Beit Lahiya funeral yesterday, three were brothers who died when Israeli airplanes fired missiles at their shared home. Residents carried their caskets, three of which were draped in the green flag of Hamas, through neighbourhood streets to a sand-filled cemetery. As friends and neighbours wept quietly, young men used their hands to dig in the sand. Then they slipped concrete slabs over the graves.

The father of the three brothers, who were all in their 20s and 30s and have 14 children among them, stood stoically apart from the proceedings, greeting guests and receiving condolences.

“Now, I don’t have any place to live. I don’t have any place to go,” said Sami Rizik Subuh, 70, after the funeral as he walked through the wreckage of the home he shared with his sons. He has spent the past several days living in a United Nations-run school nearby. Rebuilding his life will be difficult, he said, because Israeli tanks destroyed his small farm, where he used to grow vegetables and raise cows.

“Israel is not fighting a great people. They are fighting a small group of people,” he said. “They call us terrorists, but they are the terrorists.”

Given the gridlocked relations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Mr Subuh said he was counting on the change promised by Barak Obama, who will be inaugurated as US president later today, to bring peace to Gaza.

“Americans love peace. It’s possible to make peace if Israel would only stop the violence,” he said. When asked which side he thought had emerged victorious from the conflict, Mr Subuh said he was certain that Hamas had won.

“For us, we lost houses, we lost children and people. Everything we have, we have lost,” he said. “But Israel has lost all over the world. They lost the people of the world. Even the European parliaments no longer support them.”




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