‘We want to live’: Gaza residents say as death toll tops 200

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Gaza 2014With hopes of a cease-fire in Gaza shattered by Hamas rockets that provoked renewed Israeli airstrikes, officials in the region will try again Wednesday to seek a way to stop the deadly confrontation.

The civilians of Gaza have borne the brunt of the conflict, which has killed 204 Palestinians and one Israeli in a little over a week.

Israel accepted an Egyptian proposal for a truce Tuesday, pausing airstrikes for about six hours. But Hamas rejected the plan and kept on launching rockets into Israeli territory.

“Hamas have decided to continue, and will pay the price for that decision,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.

Many people living amid the daily Israeli bombardments of the impoverished Palestinian territory say they want peace. But they also want greater freedom.

“I’m not happy to see Israeli children hurt,” says Mustafa, who once worked in Israel. “I have grandchildren, I don’t want them to be hurt. We want to live.”

‘We are in jail here’

Other residents say it’s not as straightforward as a simple halt to hostilities, complaining about longstanding Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza.

“We are in jail here, big jail,” said Abu Ashraf, a 65-year-old in the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza, where distant explosions could be heard.

“We are not free,” said Ashraf, who has seen many wars in his life. “I like to be free, like the other people — like Swedish, Norwegian, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon … Canada. Why not? We are people, you know?”

Hamas’ political wing has said that what Palestinians really want is an end to the Israeli blockade on Gaza that is suffocating the daily lives of the 1.8 million Palestinians living there.

It has also accused Israel of not freeing Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, as had been agreed to under an earlier truce.

But as long as the two side continue to trade fire, there appears to be little prospect of any kind of broader deal.

“Hamas closed the diplomatic option,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, told CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on Tuesday.

‘Not a normal situation’

As Hamas’ rockets continued to fizz over the border, and Israeli airstrikes kept slamming into buildings in Gaza, the death toll climbed higher.

By Tuesday, the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza had reached 194 — most of them civilians, according to the United Nations — with at least 1,400 wounded, Palestinian health authorities said.

Thousands of people have fled their homes amid the bombardments, taking refuge in U.N. buildings, some of which have been damaged by the Israeli bombardments.

The Israeli military accuses Hamas is taking the people of Gaza hostage by using places like houses, hospitals and schools to hide weapons.

The one fatality on the Israeli side so far was a man killed Monday after being hit by a mortar shell at the Erez border crossing, Israeli Rescue Services said.

In the Israeli city of Ashkelon, less than 15 kilometers from the border with Gaza, people live under the constant threat of rocket fire — and they want it to stop.

“It’s a difficult situation,” said Merav Danieli, a resident of the city. “I know that Gaza has a difficult situation also. We feel for them, we feel for them. But you can’t live in your own country and someone will bomb you all the time, it’s not a normal situation.”

Sirens blare frequently in Ashkelon. Explosions are heard overhead as Israel’s defense system intercepts some of the rockets that streak through the sky.

‘Failure is not an option’

Despite the initial failure of the cease-fire plan, diplomats in the region are still trying to find a way out of the bloodshed.

“The achievement of the success of this Egyptian effort is a must for all of us,” said Saeb Erakat, the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority. “It’s an interest for all of us, and if we allow things to deteriorate I think it’s going to be a disaster all over.”

He warned: “Failure is not an option here.”

The Egyptian plan calls for all sides to cease hostilities in Gaza. It also calls for the opening of border crossings, once the security situation is stable, and for high-level talks among those involved.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is to travel to Egypt on Wednesday, part of diplomatic efforts around the region to try to find a way to stop the fighting.

Abbas, whose more moderate Fatah party is in power in the West Bank, is also scheduled to visit Turkey.

Hamas’ mixed messages

When the Egyptian plan was announced, there was a split reaction from Hamas. Its military wing rejected any possibility of a cease-fire, while its political wing had said it was considering it.

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan later stressed that Hamas never received the proposal through political channels.

“We are still working with Egypt. We are still talking to other sides,” he told CNN.

“I believe a proposal is supposed to be prepared after the sides agree on it. It’s supposed to be published if two sides give agreement on it. You can’t publish it in the media and then ask everyone to accept that or reject that.”

Asked why Hamas won’t stop firing rockets while talks are ongoing, the spokesman replied: “We are not the side who is killing the other side. We are the side being killed.”

U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States is “hopeful that the political wing of Hamas can have some influence on the military wing.”

“We know there’s influence that many countries in the region can have here,” she told CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront suggesting the Egyptian proposal could be “a basis for a discussion.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strongly condemned the rocket launches by Hamas in the face of the cease-fire plan, and said he is prepared to fly to the Middle East as early as Wednesday, if needed.

CNN

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112 responses to “‘We want to live’: Gaza residents say as death toll tops 200”

  1. The real lebanese Avatar
    The real lebanese

    “We are not the side who is killing the other side. We are the side being killed.”

    So you try and kill, fail, your family and friends get killed, and then you play victim. Nice. This is why the Palestinian people are still occupied, Islamist groups like Hamas have no logic. All that matters to them is what the media airs at night in Gaza.

    1. and all for nothing really..
      i might understand their reasoning if the shooting had any effect on israel.
      israelis are mostly indifference to the rockets attacks.it’s a nice conversation topic but no more.
      ironicly , the only profit hamas can get out of this op is dead Gaza people. they kill the people of Gaza for PR

      1. arzatna1 Avatar
        arzatna1

        As you know Hamas was created by Israel as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement . Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. This was part of Israel’s policy of divide and rule
        What goes around comes around. Israel is the only one to blame for creating such as an organization as Hamas and for its “divide and rule policy”.

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar
          5thDrawer

          Sometimes, one can comprehend this particular line of theorizing.
          That some Israelis baked a cake with too much butter.
          Perhaps Doron can look into that a little more … are there some Israelis considering that line of thinking as well? It IS a world of theorists working to make them all come true, after all.

        2. what goes around comes around indeed
          who ever started as a peacefull civilian movement and ends up as militry terror group, should not be surprissed to get pounded by the ones they fire on..israel’s creation or not

        3. williamgel Avatar
          williamgel

          How is that any different than having several political parties in a democracy rather than a single-party despotic rule that we see in many Arab countries?

          Hamas originally was a humanitarian group and in the face of the PLO which was and still is a terror group, wouldn’t it be best for everyone in the region, especially “Palestinians” for such a non-violent group to be part of the system?

          When Hamas became a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and chose terrorism over pragmatic aid to civilians, they became a target.

          This is hardly a “divide and rule” policy as Israel withdrew from Gaza in order to bolster movement towards independence with Hamas / PA both ruling that enclave. Had they followed the lead, and used Intl aid and Gulf money to create a paradise in Gaza, their lives would be very different. But they chose war, oppression, bloody coup, and and Islamism over building infrastructure, proper governance, and safety and freedom of their citizens.

          You would place blame on Israel for anything that doesn’t involve self-selected suicide, in favor of Arabs. Sorry – even Arabs can’t stand Hamas and its founding ideology has gone back to the days of Muslim Brotherhood, a major cause for all the strife in the region, and supported by most Arabs until it backfired on them. So, in essence, that would make Arabs complicit in their own problems.

      2. sweetvirgo Avatar
        sweetvirgo

        All for nothing indeed. If there was no Hamas there would be peace. If there was no hezbollah there would be peace. If there was no al qaeda and isis and boko haram there would be peace throughout the region. But unfortunately these scum bags only think of themselves and then cry wolf. Hamas is killing their own people and it’s a crying shame.

        1. nagy_michael2 Avatar
          nagy_michael2

          I totally agree with you.. If Hamas Leaders were wise enough the blockade will be lifted. the dumb ass killing of 3 israeli teenagers resulted in more death and destruction In Gaza.. everytime they do this to get more money from the arab. then these leaders get the big chunk of money while blaming the arabs for not helping them. well the arabs hate you by now and they just handing you souvenirs.. next time try to make peace and embarrass the israelis not give them an excuse to bomb you. This is what Ghandi did to England and the English caved in like it or not..

          1. 5thDrawer Avatar
            5thDrawer

            To know that, Nagy, they would have to read another book.

        2. arzatna1 Avatar
          arzatna1

          Add Israel to the top of your list

          1. williamgel Avatar
            williamgel

            Most Israeli Arabs would disagree with you.

        3. hey Virgo
          a farce that goes on for 20 years now.
          to make it even more abourd: some of the people here claim that israel is using dis-proportional force, and basing the claim on the disporopotionat numbers of casualties. not one of them even contemplating the idea, what would be the death rate amongst israelis if we didn’t take measurs to defend our self or what would be the death rate differences if Hamas didn’t use civilian areas as war zone.
          if it wasn’t sad it would be funny

        4. $89733098 Avatar
          $89733098

          If there was no Israel there would b peace.

          1. williamgel Avatar
            williamgel

            There hasn’t be for years before Israel.

            There just won’t be any targeting of Jews wholesale but rather each other which we see all over the Arab world.

            Anywhere there is a conflict in the world, Muslims are somehow involved, sadly. Cannot be claimed to tied to Israel’s existence.

          2. $89733098 Avatar
            $89733098

            typical racist zionist pig

          3. williamgel Avatar
            williamgel

            I take that as a compliment *sshole. It means I hit a nerve. And that’s not just my opinion…but a good portion of the world you’re failing to convince about the peaceful intentions of Arab Muslims.

            Fighting in Chechnya? Kidnapping and murder in Nigeria? Hanging homosexuals in the Gulf States? Bus bombings in Bulgaria? Pipelines explode in Egypt? Pirates in Somalia? Cafes exploding in Kenya? Beheadings in Pakistan? Mass slaughter in Iraq?Violent riots in France? Train bombings in London and Spain? 9/11???

            Hey don’t blame me for your image problem. You need a PR firm and fast, and tell the Jihadis to stop going off message.

    2. $89733098 Avatar
      $89733098

      u r “real” disgusting!
      Go neck yourself you disgusting zionist pig

      1. The real lebanese Avatar
        The real lebanese

        Ask yourself who always starts the Israel and Palestinian armed conflicts. The Palestinians dont need an Islamic group in charge.

        1. sweetvirgo Avatar
          sweetvirgo

          I hope the Palenstian people wake up and realize they need to get rid of hamas…for good.

  2. hamas:”please stop israel from killing us”
    everybody else: “no problem, all you have to do is stop shooting rockets at them”
    hamas:” never mind then, we’ll find another way”

  3. 5thDrawer Avatar
    5thDrawer

    Music please ….
    “I want to live. I want to give. I’d be a Miner for a Heart of Gold.
    ……..
    And I’m getting old.”

    Abu Ashraf, a 65-year-old … his age a minor miracle in itself. This guy’s life story should be taken down. Quickly.

  4. MekensehParty Avatar
    MekensehParty

    If you really want to live then choose leaders that want the same.
    As long as you support leaders who want only death, that’s all you’re going to get!
    Enough “crying on lost loves” buka’ 3ala al atlal

  5. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
    Ivana Humpalot

    Poor things, their life would have been so much better if they left to Egypt in 1967

    1. Hamas rejected the peace initiative of Egypt

  6. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
    Ivana Humpalot

    ,.

  7. 5thDrawer Avatar
    5thDrawer

    On a BEACH?? :-0
    “Gaza-Israel conflict: Four boys killed on beach by rocket fire
    1 hour ago
    Israeli shelling has killed 211 people according to Palestinian officials, including four boys on a beach in Gaza.
    It has been reported that the children were all members of the same extended family and were playing on the seafront outside a hotel used by foreign journalists.”

    1. Denver Goddess Avatar
      Denver Goddess

      Reports are coming from Palestinian sources – not exactly non-partisan.

  8. 5thDrawer Avatar
    5thDrawer

    Probably a fairly accurate ‘assessment’ …… by Crowley …

    “The most recent outbreak of violence redeems the decision by Secretary of State John Kerry to reengage in peace negotiations last year, talks that collapsed in April. The United States is right to say the status quo is unsustainable, but it has no real ability to change it if the Israelis and Palestinians won’t.
    And they won’t. Positions regarding the crucial regional issues inherent in the conflict – the borders of a Palestinian state and nature of an Israeli state; rising expectations on one side and the grinding reality on the other; and mutually exclusive definitions of security, acceptance, justice and dignity – will certainly harden on all sides.
    The greatest danger from this latest episode is not a third intifada, but deeper disillusionment among the Israeli and Palestinian populations, communities that know less about each other than they did a decade ago.
    In the abstract, they still support a two-state solution. But they no longer believe it will actually happen, that the other side wants peace; that they have anything to lose.
    This is the environment that produces the killers of Eyal Lifrach, Naftali Frankel, Gil-ad Shaar and Muhammad Abu Khdair, fuels Hamas’ rockets and starts the vicious cycle turning yet again.”

    PJ Crowley is a former US assistant secretary of state and now a professor of practice and fellow at The George Washington University Institute of Public Diplomacy & Global Communication

  9. Hamas to present Gaza ceasefire blueprint on Thursday
    http://www.aa.com.tr/en/news/359805–gaza-ceasefire-must-meet

  10. Ivana Humpalot Avatar
    Ivana Humpalot

    Finally a ground invasion has just started !!!!

    Sweep the cockroaches from the land of Israel, rebuild the ancient kingdom!!!

  11. Denver Goddess Avatar
    Denver Goddess

    You vote for a terrorist organization, what do you think is going to happen? Notice this doesn’t happen in the West Bank?

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