Humanitarian situation in Gaza grave: Journalist


Press TV has conducted an interview with Harry Fear, journalist and filmmaker from Gaza, about Hamas and Israel agreeing to hold a five-hour ceasefire.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Harry Fear, give us your first-hand account of what is taking place on the ground in Gaza, the Israeli aggression and also the unfolding humanitarian crisis that the people of Gaza are facing.

Fear: Yes, a couple of days ago we visited north Gaza, the north of the Gaza Strip and visited the al-Wafa hospital which has been struck directly by at least three Israeli missiles. Well yesterday part of the al-Wafa charitable medical charity compound was struck again with another missile.

This follows the staging of a sit-in by international pro-Palestine activists in the hospital. So Israel attacked the compound with the human shields in it. And so that is one of the extraordinary hotspots, if you like, in the last 24 hours.

But the most extraordinary tragedy of the last 24 hours is the killing of course of these four Palestinian children on the beach of West Gaza city. This took place in broad day light in front of dozens of international journalists who videoed the incident. It is probably the best documented prima facie war crime of this ongoing conflict.

Press TV: Mr. Fear, hospitals, schools, residential neighborhoods are being targeted not just once but repeatedly by the Israelis. Many women and children have been killed. Do you wonder why the United Nations has waited for now to try to implement a ceasefire and why only for five hours?

Fear: That is a good question. The reason why this UN temporary suspension of hostilities has been agreed to is clear if you look at both sides positions. Why it is only five hours is because the United Nations did not want to, if you like, punch too high in terms of asking the Israelis and Hamas to stop activities for a longer period of time.

I believe that is why they chose the five hour window which is of course very, very small but enough to get some humanitarian aid into Gaza and help the humanitarian situation here which is very grave including with an ongoing water crisis.

Well the point here is that the Egyptian initiated ceasefire proposal was of course rejected by Hamas but Egypt has developed as an entity increasingly hostile, very hostile even towards Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement in Gaza over the last year. And so it is not altogether a surprise that Hamas rejected that much less neutral ceasefire.

Press TV: Well to clarify my question I wanted to know is it surprising for you that the United Nations waited for ten days, 230 people being killed, 1800 targets being attacked by the Israelis to finally intervene for this temporary ceasefire?

Fear: It is not a surprise to directly answer the question by any means. The United Nations will wait for standard ceasefires to be attempted. Egypt has starkly over the last several years been brokering these ceasefires. I think people expected that Egypt might be able to win one for the region and it didn’t.

So it is not somehow exceptional for the UN to have waited so long. However it did take its time quite surely since Hamas rejected the Egyptian proposal. I do not know what they were doing. Obviously it was not high enough on their priority list but by all means the United Nations will wait for the political actors in the region to attempt to broker a ceasefire deal between themselves before offering their own initiative.

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