Gazan intellectuals speak out. Many Canadians will be surprised by what they say
Hamas rejected the July 15th Egyptian ceasefire proposal out of hand. Many Canadians couldn’t understand why Hamas preferred to continue to fight given the huge civilian loss of life and injury. But that proposal only aimed to restore the “status quo”. Israel’s blockade of Gaza would remain. A remarkable letter from civil society leaders in Gaza explain why support for the Hamas position is quite broad.
Most Canadians are stumped by Hamas’ current strategy. The rockets don’t really harm Israel in any serious way. But they do constitute a war crime. As a result, they make it harder for the friends of Palestinians to defend them.
So what is Hamas thinking?
Here is a quote from a letter I got which sums up what a lot of people are thinking:
Peter, My question is about Hamas. Why do they keep using the same inefficient strategy? It seems that they send these inefficient rockets on Israel to raise awareness about their desperate situation, knowing that so many of their own people, including women and children will get killed. And they do not get much support from anybody, as they manage to get very limited weapons. It is almost suicidal. I would like to read you about that.- Louise
Of course I have no way to know what Hamas is thinking, but a remarkable, and courageous letter from Gaza gives us a fascinating insight.
In a letter reprinted this week in The Electronic Intifada as an editorial, 92 leading Palestinian citizens of Gaza – doctors, professors, dentists, lawyers, scientists, women’s advocates and artists, explain their support for Hamas’ decision to continue to fight back.
They claim that Hamas’ decision to reject the Egyptian proposed ceasefire was widely approved by the population in Gaza because it gave them nothing. The signatories say that they are against a ceasefire which goes back to the status quo which was, in their words, “a living death.”
“No ceasefire without justice”
The letter explains they will support continued resistance until Israel accepts 4 conditions:
- Freedom of movement into and out of Gaza
- Unlimited import and export of supplies and goods, including by land, sea and air.
- Unrestricted use of the Gaza seaport
- Monitoring and enforcement of these agreements by a body appointed by the United Nations, with appropriate security measures.
Read the entire letter here.
Signing this letter is in itself a remarkable act of individual courage. All these people are well known in Gaza and they understand very well that Israel has the ability to target any one of them and their families.
So far, their letter has not been picked up by any of the mainstream media.
So, what is Hamas thinking?
Hamas may have a lot more support inside Gaza than has been assumed by western observers. In addition, Hamas’ militant stand appears to be gaining it support across the whole of the Palestinian people.
As recently as a couple of days ago, Palestinian President Abbas seemed to more or less blame both Israel and Hamas equally for the lack of a truce agreement. On Monday, Abbas issued a new statement, along with 5 other Palestinian political parties, indicating that the PLO now backs Hamas’ conditions for a ceasefire.
It appears that Hamas feels that their defiant stand will force Israel to make a choice: either keep killing civilians and risk rising international condemnation, or accede to some of Hamas’ demands.
Of course, that the population of Gaza understand all too well the danger facing them. But it would appear that many prefer Hamas’ defiant stand, risking death by Israeli bombs, to the ‘living death” of the blockade and starvation of the last 7 years.