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19/11/2012 | Middle East Crisis - Gaza crisis: Israeli and Palestinian voices

BBC

The Israeli military and militants in Gaza are continuing to trade fire, after five days of violence on both sides.

 

More than 90 Palestinians and three Israelis have died since Operation Pillar of Defence began last Wednesday.

Here, people from Gaza and Israel share their experiences and give their views.

*Muhammad Abu Shaban, Gaza City

The situation here is getting worse.

Attacks are taking place 24 hours a day. Last night was the worst night for air strikes so far. There were huge explosions all night.

They were so close that you couldn't sleep.

The amount of ammunition fire being used is unbelievable.

They are still attacking buildings all around us. The closest one to be hit was 200m away.

I have not been able to leave the house. On Saturday, I went to the shops about 100m away, just to get some food, but that was my first time outside in days.

The power has been out for four days. We are relying on a generator for electricity, which we just switch on briefly at night. We are also running out of water.

We are now preparing for a ground invasion, which is not going to be a good situation for us.

Attacks are already increasing as it is, with civilian areas being hit repeatedly.

Many people are being killed. I am not optimistic at all.

*Joel Salkin, Ashkelon, Israel

The women and children here are terrified. Although I'm terrified too, I can't show it.

The air-raid sirens sounded 10 or 11 times on Sunday and twice so far on Monday.

I live on the sixth floor of my building and every time they sound we have to go into the stairwell on the fifth floor.

One rocket hit a house about 1km (0.6 miles) away on Sunday.

It damaged the building, but thankfully there was no-one home at the time.

I keep looking in the direction of Gaza to see what's coming next. I can't see any end to it, with both sides saying, 'We'll only stop if they stop.'

The rest of the world has to realise that we can't live under the constant threat of incoming rockets and bombardment.

I have seen for myself the effect that this has on people and it cannot continue.

Hamas seem to be winning the propaganda war, but until they stop saying what they're saying, this will continue.

Although I consider myself a moderate, I cannot see any solution to this problem without this threat being removed by any means possible.

Unfortunately, I think Israel will also have to go into Gaza on the ground.

*Karmel, 17, Gaza City

I just heard that my cousin has died. I don't know what happened. I don't have any details yet.

I live with my uncle, grandmother, seven little brothers and cousins. I look after them and try to calm them down. They are still quite scared because the explosions haven't stopped.

I am feeling a little more secure compared to when the whole thing began last week.

I guess I am getting used to it and I am trying not to pay attention.

My uncle says we have no connection with Hamas whatsoever, so we should be safe. I think the Israelis have specific targets, so we should be OK. There's no reason for us to be part of it.

We haven't left the house at all. It's too dangerous to go out. My uncle, who lived through the war a few years ago, knew from experience that he had to get lots of supplies, so we have food, for now.

I am not taking any sides in this conflict - I think both sides are wrong. I feel strongly against what Hamas is doing - firing rockets at Israel provokes them to fire back at us.

This is why we find ourselves on the receiving end now. They should stop doing that at once.

*Michael, Tel Aviv, Israel

Over the past few days, we have witnessed the escalation of violence on both sides - with one difference.

As a former Israel Defense Forces [IDF] soldier, I can tell you that the IDF does its best, and more, to avoid civilian casualties.

Often we don't strike at targets because they are too close to innocent civilians.

I wish I could say the same about the Palestinians.

Over the past five days, they fired more then 700 rockets aiming at cities - including my city of Tel Aviv, hoping to hurt as many Israelis as they can.

War is chaos and when fighting there is the risk of civilian casualties but it's the exception and not the rule.

I hope the crossfire will cease soon and we can go on with our lives peacefully.

BBC (Reino Unido)

 


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