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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Anger deepens in Gaza

It's a month now since the Israeli army began its operations in Gaza to rescue captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Palestinian leader has said he believes his release is imminent, and there is talk of a ceasefire. The BBC's Lucy Williamson reports on the mood in Gaza City.

Mughazi refugee camp
Palestinians are angry at the damaged caused at Mughazi

It's Open Wave Night at al-Quds radio station in Gaza, run by Islamic Jihad.

In the stuffy brown studio, star presenter Abdel Nasser Abu Aoun is conducting his daily phone-in programme, and the topic is the same it's been every night for a month: outrage at the situation and support for the Palestinian militants fighting Israel.

Views like this, says Abdel Nasser, have grown since the start of the crisis.

"Most of the callers to our programme have become more aggressive towards the idea of a ceasefire" he says, "because it's not logical whilst you have massacres, incursions, assassinations.

"So, over the past month people believe that ceasefire has died and the calls from the people who want a ceasefire have decreased a lot, and the voices of the people who call for resistance and revenge have got louder."

Human damage

The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been working to get a ceasefire in place, but Israel says there's no deal without their captured soldier, Gilad Shalit.

For their part the Palestinian militants say they won't release the soldier unless Israel releases thousands of Palestinian prisoners in return.

And that's something many Palestinians agree with.

A week ago, the streets of Mughazi camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip looked very different.

There were no children playing here then, no young men idling away an afternoon.

Just militants bunched nervously on corners, fingering guns, the air thick with waiting, and the crackle of snipers along the narrow streets.

For one single Israeli soldier they did so many things. If he's worth so much, what else are we to do, when we have 10,000 Palestinian prisoners inside Israel what else can we do?
Nadia An-Najar

Now the battle has moved on, and the human damage is hidden inside the small dark houses.

Like that of Nadia An-Najar. She sits in her dim living room, surrounded by 30 women - all come to mark the seventh day of mourning for her son Ali.

He'd gone to watch the Israeli tanks, just a few hundred metres from his home. He was fourteen.

I told him not to go, Nadia says, but he wouldn't listen.

Nadia says the Israeli presence has just made Palestinians more determined not to hand the soldier over without something in return.

"For one single Israeli soldier they did so many things," she says, her eyes wide with outrage.

"They made incursions into Gaza, into Mughazi, into Rafah all of this for one single Israeli soldier. If he's worth so much, what else are we to do, when we have 10,000 Palestinian prisoners inside Israel, what else can we do?"

Israeli power

Out in the street, the sun has gone down - and the lights haven't come on.

The brightest things around are the headlights of cars as they bump their way along the road.

Having Gilad Shalit with us is a winning ticket to securing an exchange of prisoners
Gazan resident

It's been like this ever since Israel bombed Gaza's power plant last month.

And every night Gilad Shalit spends in Gaza is a reminder for the people here of the control Israel has over their lives.

"We have lost everything," says one Gazan, picking his way home by the light of shop windows.

"There's nothing left to lose here in Palestine. Having Gilad Shalit with us is a winning ticket to securing an exchange of prisoners."

Most Gazans want peace.

And most aren't against the idea of a ceasefire in principle.

But, they say, Israel holds all the cards.

In the past month, it's taken away Gaza's power supply, reduced essential goods to a trickle, and sends its tanks into territory it withdrew from 10 months ago.

Many Gazans feel everything is in Israel's hands - peace included.




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