‘Israel uses Gaza tunnels as excuse to kill Palestinians’


Press TV has conducted an interview with scholar and activist Sarah Marusek to talk more about the events taking place in Gaza and to discuss the resistance against regime in Tel Aviv.

Below is an approximate transcription of the interview:

Press TV: As Muslims are beginning to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, obviously in the Gaza Strip is a different story. Not much cheer and celebrations there. In the most recent attack seven children were killed, actually nine I should say, when an Israeli missile slammed into a playground and also refugee camp. At this point, the al-Shifa hospital, there also Israeli fire, making it 22 total, of the 21 days, hospitals and clinics that have been targeted by Israel. Your reaction?

Marusek: Well, I just want to thank you for having me on and I want to wish your viewers an Eid Mubarak. I know it is a very difficult time for everybody around the world who cares about Palestine, but especially for the Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza right now. As you said, this is a really difficult time Eid for them and really, they have seen their lives blown up. They have seen their loved ones torn apart and we still don’t know when this will be ending and as you said, Israel continues to target vital infrastructure that Palestinians need to live dignified lives.

Drinking water, electricity, and hospitals right now… The hospitals are inundated with victims. They have so many casualties. They have no medicine. They have no surgeons to treat anybody and right now it is very difficult to get any humanitarian aid into Gaza because the Rafah crossing has largely been shut. So, this is probably one of the worst Eids for most Palestinian and living memory and we are just waiting for some developments, some movement from the international community to put pressure on Israel to agree to treat Palestinians like human beings, to give them their rights to lift this siege, to release all the political prisoners and to end its occupation of Palestine.

Press TV: What do you have to tell Maxine? There are a lot of facts that prove otherwise. In response to Maxine Do?

Marusek: I would point out, ask the guest, why these tunnels exist? They exist because Gaza has been under a draconian siege for seven years. It is impossible to have a normal, dignified life in Gaza as a Palestinian and therefore, the government, the resistance has to do something in order to change the status quo because it is unlivable.

Most Palestinians in Gaza would say that they have a choice between a quick death resisting, or they have a choice for a slow death by living with the occupation, living with the siege, living unbearable lives. Most human beings would choose dignity. They would choose quick death and that is why so many Palestinians support the resistance and that is why the tunnels are built to give them hope, to give them something they can struggle with. Now of course, the tunnels are also essential for going in and out of Egypt.

Even, beyond the tunnels, it would absurd to say Israel is not targeting infrastructure. Why are so many hospitals destroyed? Why are so many homes destroyed? If the tunnels were everything, actually, this is a kind of stupid conversation because Israel didn’t even know the extents of the tunnels before it started the operation.

Now, of course all of a sudden, the tunnels are a big issue because Israel just wants to continue bombing Gaza. It has nothing to do… there is no strategic outcome for this, except more misery, more sufferings, creating more Palestinians whose lives are going to be ruined, they are going to be more determined to resist in any way that is possible, building more tunnels, coming up with new ideas. Everything comes back to the occupation. Everything comes back to the siege. Give people a decent life. Treat human beings with dignity and you won’t have any problems.

Press TV: Based on an account by an ex-soldier of the Israeli army Operation Cast lead 2008, in order for the Israeli soldiers during that time to find out as you said, rocket launchers and perhaps some of the fighters, what they would do first is they would kill everything inside and bomb everything inside, which causes a huge amount of civilians casualties, including in residential homes…Your comments on remarks made by the ex-Israeli soldier?

Marusak: I just want to go back to the point that our guest made regarding the Palestinians in the West Bank living together with Jewish Israelis, and I just want to point out that those Palestinians cannot vote. They do not have the same rights as Israelis, so we cannot paint this rosy picture of some coexistence when there is an occupier and an occupied. And I think that is essential when it comes to discussing anything in Gaza because in Gaza, Palestinians do resist. They are punished for it, but they do resist, and resistance is a legitimate form of struggle when you are being occupied. It is not a form of self defense to attack an occupied people. It is oppression. It is against international law and the soldiers are currently destroying everything.

Press TV: You pointed out that the heart of the problem lies in the occupation, lies in the fact that this land is filled with Palestinians that obviously want their piece. They want what is entitled to them. So, can this come about through the situation that is happening in Gaza, to bring wider, perhaps, peace to the occupied Palestinian territories do you think?

Marusek: Well, I think what is happening in Gaza is going to encourage Palestinians to launch a third Intifada and we have seen this over the last few days. Palestinians are sick and tired of negotiations that increase occupation. There are more settlements. We talk about building tunnels. Well, why are Hamas building tunnels? It is because they do not have the right to have an army. How is it possible to have a sovereign state but not be able to defend yourself? It is just absurd.

So, basically all of these accusations against Hamas, it is set up to make them into terrorists, but they are not terrorists. They are resisting. They are doing the best that they can to defend their people, to liberate their land, liberate their people and hopefully the international community is starting to wake up to this. You know, the United Nations is not doing very much. People around the world have been protesting in the streets by the millions in support of Palestinian rights, in support of Palestinian rights. That means we will not support the occupation any longer. We will demand that the occupation ends and that Palestinians can live freely with all the rights and all their dignity.





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