Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gaza Is Burning: Laila El-Hadded Reports on How Recent Fighting in Gaza has Paralyzed Civilian Life

Contributed by Datta

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"We turn now to Gaza where at least twenty Palestinians were killed Wednesday in fierce internal fighting between the two main factions Hamas and Fatah. As many as 45 people have died with more than 100 wounded in four days of violence......

AMY GOODMAN: Laila El-Haddad is a Palestinian journalist and mother living in Gaza. She writes for a number of publications, including and The Guardian of London. She maintains a blog called "Raising Youssef: A Diary of a Mother Under Occupation." She joins us now from Gaza.....

LAILA EL-HADDAD: Right. Of course, I mean, you know, people here are very perturbed and upset at what’s happening locally and place a lot of blame on the organizations themselves or the members or whoever is doing the shooting, but at the same time look at it within the larger context of the continuing Israeli occupation, the continuing Israeli siege of Gaza and, of course, the continuing global boycott of the Palestinian government and, even now, the Palestinian unity government, and taking a step further and seeing that there’s something far more sinister behind it all, particularly the US agenda to see the downfall of the unity government through arming, of course, and training Mohammad Dahlan, the Fatah strongman in Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces......

LAILA EL-HADDAD: Yeah, I mean, it’s -- again, it is no hidden agenda. It’s not any kind of conspiracy. It’s something that’s been very open and reported openly in the press, but again, the media has chosen not to necessarily concentrate on this particular aspect.

Over the past, I think it might have been, two years or so, especially, particularly in the period right before the elections, the US began funding Mohammad Dahlan, specifically, personally, in hopes to stave off a Hamas election victory, and then, following the election victory, Hamas’s election, continued to fund both Mohammad Dahlan and Mahmoud Abbas, the security forces, and training and arming them, as well. And the sum has reached something to the effect of $84 million.

And just a day ago, when the latest clashes began, in fact, Israel authorized the opening of Rafah crossing, which is closed -- the only civilian passage in and out of Gaza, and it’s closed at least 50% of the time, according to the UN. But they authorized that to be open specifically to allow the entry of at least 450 members of the Badr Brigades, which is the elite Fatah brigades that were trained in Jordan with US funding. So again, it’s very clear and out in the open. And just about a week or two ago, the plan was elaborated on in a Jordanian newspaper, before being whisked off the presses -- again, the latest plan to arm and fund and try to overthrow or see the downfall, at least, of the unity government......"

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