‘People here in Gaza still fear the worst’

Palestinians are preparing themselves for possible Israeli ground operation, as they fear that the IDF could start reoccupation of the Gaza Strip with tanks and commandos.

­According to the Israeli Defense Ministry, it eliminated 90 per cent of Hamas’ military capability, as they deliver surgical strike aimed only at terrorists.  

While filmmaker Harry Fear, who is currently in Gaza, told RT about dead Palestinian civilians, including children, and an upcoming ground invasion.

RT:  You’ve been there since the first Israeli bombs began to fall. How are the civilians coping with that?

Harry Fear: The civilians are coping to an extent. Things got a bit better in the last several hours in terms of the number of aerial and naval bombardments of the Gaza Strip. It’s still very grave. We are talking now about 30 victims. We’ve seen houses which have been basically wiped off the map in Gaza in the last 24 hours. People are still terrorized. A friend of mine, who lives in a dangerous area of Gaza – she had to evacuate her home three times since the beginning of operation Pillar of Cloud. That’s how dangerous things are here in Gaza.


Palestinians walk amongst the debris of the house of Ezzedine Haddad, commander of the armed wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, after it was destroyed during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)
Palestinians walk amongst the debris of the house of Ezzedine Haddad, commander of the armed wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, after it was destroyed during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)

RT: Your friend saying that the Israeli strikes are not entirely accurate. That’s exactly opposite from what we’ve heard from the IDF and the ministry. Isn’t that supposed to be a precision targeting job?

HF: Apparently Israel boasts such high quality military equipment and is able to make accurate targeting. We hear from the Israelis in the last few years, that their weapons have such high quality optics, so they can even see the color of women’s head scarves on the ground in Gaza. At the same time we are seeing dead children, including three under the age of two in the last few days. We have to ask ourselves why exactly is this happening? To me it seems obvious: fear on the ground. That Israel is willing to use disproportionate force to recklessly attack the targets. Many of them have been democratically mandated by the Palestinian people.

RT: Israeli allies are arguing that the militants are to blame for the conflict by firing Israel first. Is there sense among the people that Hamas could’ve been provoking further attacks now?

HF: Actually I have not heard anything about that. I’ve been hearing the contrary, which is for the first time in a few years the Palestinian people in Gaza actually feel protected to an extent because it appears that Israel is backing down to an extent, as a result of the resistance with ability to fire rockets into Israeli territory to an extent and to a degree of force – the way they were not able to do in the previous days.    


A Palestinian youth take cover behind a makeshift barrier during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Ahmad Gharabli)
A Palestinian youth take cover behind a makeshift barrier during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Ahmad Gharabli)

RT: According to the Israeli Defense Ministry – it says it’s eliminated 90 per cent of Hamas’ military capability. At the same time the IDF chief has reportedly ordered the army to increase the pace of strikes on Gaza. We’ve been selling the swelling of troops on the Gaza border. Now I understand 75,000 reservist troops have been called up as well. It would appear that the ground invasion is next on the cards. You are in Gaza. What are you seeing? What are you hearing?

HF: We’ve heard mixed announcements over the last 24 hours. In particular – in the last six hours we heard about a possible ground invasion. The streets here are still empty. People still fear further violence and further collateral damage. People are trying to keep food and fuel in the last few days since the operation started. People here still fear the worst – the ground reoccupation of the Gaza strip with tanks and commandos. So people are preparing for that. We’ve heard mixed information from the Israeli state, regarding the cost might be too high for them to actually attempt to reoccupy the Gaza strip, especially taking into account the recent level of force against Israel here by the Palestinian resistant force.

Palestinians search through the rubble of the demolished home of Ezzedine Haddad, commander of the armed wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)
Palestinians search through the rubble of the demolished home of Ezzedine Haddad, commander of the armed wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on November 17, 2012 (AFP Photo / Marco Longari)

RT: Hunkering down from what might be a possible Israeli ground invasion. As most people know, the Palestinians don’t even have an army. So how would it happen? How would it work out?

HF: The Palestinians have some resistance groups. Military wings, which are the members of various political movements here in Gaza, for instance Hamas – they have their own militant wings. Some of these wings are more active than others. And these groups are responsible for protecting the borders on a normal basis outside of this war time and for firing the rockets into Israel as Israel strikes Gaza. So these are the groups which are responsible for protection. There is no underground network of tunnels in the Gaza Strip. These fighters used to go around and to surprise Israel, when they make their attacks. So that is very backward defense system here trying to deal with the fourth- or fifth-largest military power in the world. That is some way of managing to level force and repel Israeli force – we understand here in Gaza.