The Israeli regime has engaged in a series of airstrikes against the Gaza Strip. At least 30 Palestinians have so far been killed in the offensive.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Harry Fear, an activist and filmmaker from Gaza, to further discuss the recent Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. Fear is joined by Carol Gould, an author and political analyst from London, and Sara Flounder, of the International Action Center, from New York. The following is a rough transcription of the interview with Fear.
Press TV: As a filmmaker, not to mention as an activist, obviously you’re witnessing things. Why don’t you set the tone for this program and tell us what is occurring there in the Gaza Strip?
Fear: What’s occurring in the Gaza Strip are what the Palestinians are calling a massacre. We’re seeing the killing of pregnant women, elderly men, and children.
It’s a very, very grave situation here in Gaza, with practically every part of the Gaza Strip receiving either Israeli airstrikes or naval shelling. We’re seeing tanks amassing on the border.
We must remember that this is a Third-World largely defenseless population of 1.5 to 1.7 million people here in Gaza, in a tiny area the size of Washington D.C. or the British Isles of Wight. We’re seeing a real use of reckless, disproportionate violence inflicted on the Gazan population and in these last hours and days.
Press TV: Last time, the war, Operation Cast Lead, 1400 killed, Palestinians, many civilians,not to mention women and children… Palestinians felt abandoned. I remember clearly when that war was going on, reporting on that.
This time around, a little different; we have the prime minister of Egypt coming through; Tunisian prime minister; we’ve also had reports from a spokesperson of Ban Ki-moon, that he’s going to visit Gaza; not to mention a delegation to arrive from Egypt there again.
This time around, Palestinians hopefully have this increase in spirits… so they don’t feel abandoned. Is that correct?
Fear: That is absolutely correct. There is international and local reinforcement of that Gazan population because we’re seeing not only Tunisia, as you say, Ban Ki-moon, coming as well, the Iranian foreign minister is due to come. We’re seeing an Egyptian, obviously most prominently; we’re seeing international support, if you like, warming towards the grief of the Palestinian people in these days.
At the same time, though, we’re seeing a very interesting development which is a clear differentiator between this Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Cast Lead being an effect on the Palestinians because this time we’re hearing the Palestinian people saying for really the first time in the last decade that they feel they have their own defense force, they feel like they have some sort of force which is fighting off Israeli military aggression.
With these attacks on Israel, with these missiles, et cetera, we’re hearing Gazan people here, who I’ve spoken to, saying ‘we feel Israel is being repelled and we are now being protected by these retaliatory strikes on Israel’.
Press TV: That is one problem that is not being reported, when this situation has unfolded in the media mainly through the Western TV stations… and that is the fact that it’s not showing both sides of the story.
For example, we can’t forget, as you are very well looking firsthand, of how this one-and-a-half million Palestinians are being choked in terms of their livelihood; and how through basic, meticulous control of the strip, Israel has been able to blockade this five years going onto the sixth year. That is something that doesn’t get reported on.
Perhaps that needs to be put into context of what is going on when you have these Palestinians that are being choked, and a government that isn’t even allowed to rule Hamas – a democratically elected government. Isn’t that why Palestinians are behind Hamas?
Fear: Yes. In 2006, Hamas was democratically elected and so it has a large, broad popular mandate here. Palestinians see that although this mandate is six years old, it still has legitimacy and weight behind it.
Let me just add very quickly that while your other guests were talking, four airstrikes have been struck around this area in central Gaza city, including one which opened the door of this studio in which I’m talking to you in.
These airstrikes come in the context of, as you say, a besiegement policy of the Gaza Strip which has severely affected the economy, basically totally suffocating it so that youth unemployment is 75 percent, adult unemployment is over 50 percent, that more than 60 percent of the population are reliant on aid agencies just for food to survive.
That is the background situation as a result of the medieval siege that Israel has posed as collective punishment on the people of Gaza.
Press TV: A message that you want to send, since you’re in Gaza as an activist and as a filmmaker.
Fear: The message I want to send to people is very clear, that every single person has a responsibility of some size towards the Gazan people as fellow human beings who can witness the insanity of Israeli violence being inflicted on this third-world population here who are largely defenseless, as I said before.
Everyone needs to contact their democratically elected representatives to put pressure on them to put pressure on their governments to put pressure on the Israeli government to back off this assault on the Gaza Strip.