Page last updated at 22:59 GMT, Saturday, 27 December 2008

Voices: Reaction to Israeli raids

Two Palestinians in Gaza and two Israelis in the nearby town of Sderot give their reaction to the Israeli air strikes on Gaza on Saturday. Palestinian medical officials say many of the 225 people killed were Hamas policemen.


Mkhaimar Abusada
What happened was beyond imagination; I've never seen anything like it in my life.

It was a massive bombing campaign which created enormous fear in ordinary innocent Palestinians.

One attack hit an open citrus field 150 metres from my house. A Qassam missile had been fired from that area before the latest truce started.

I could see bombings from my window, but no-one I know was hurt or injured.

I don't think this will be followed by ground attacks right now. I think these would have to come after Israel's elections.

Also, I think Israel benefits greatly from the divide between Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. If Israel helps end that, it would then have to sit down and reach a political settlement with us, which it's not ready to do.

Palestinians are very divided. Some support Hamas, others support Fatah. Yes, some people are angry with Hamas, but there is no way anyone can speak against them right now, it's not the time. This is the time for national unity and national healing.

Eeki Elmer

Gaza is run by a terrorist organisation and I don't know any country in the world which would allow terrorists to run a state on its borders.

Sderot lies in the undisputed area of Israel. This is not the West Bank, not part of the area Palestinians call "occupied", it's been part of Israel since 1948. So it's about time Gaza accepted us.

A year and a half ago a missile hit my house - thank God I wasn't injured. But this is reality here. You walk in the street, and suddenly the alarm comes and there's nowhere to hide.

Politically I would say the current government, Kadima, might profit from this operation - not that this has anything to do with the election.

Pressure has been building on the government for a couple of years for a strong response to the terrorists in Gaza.

I was considered a leftist in Israel - you are not speaking to some lunatic nationalist here. I never wanted to rule these people and I still support the notion of two states.

I pray the violence will be over and that we find some peaceful solution.


This is a black day in Gaza's history. Never, ever have we had airstrikes of this intensity and not since 1967 have we had this number of victims.

Map of Gaza

I was holding a workshop for NGO workers on conflict transformation and non-violence, when the strikes began.

We went to the balcony to look; we saw women running in the street, heard screams everywhere, we saw people carrying parts of human beings. It went on and on.

The attack happened as schools were changing shifts, so children were arriving and leaving. My children were evacuated from their school and they're OK, although one of their classmates was hurt.

They saw the blood and screams of other children, so they have had a very difficult time which they won't forget.

We must work together, Hamas and Fatah. The only way to face what is happening is to be united. I didn't ask anyone in the street today "Are you Fatah or Hamas?". Our blood was mixed.

Mechi Fendel

Finally, a month and a half before the elections, Israel takes some action.

I definitely see this as linked, but it's OK, better late than never. What's been happening in Gaza is fantastic. I feel very bad about the man killed in [the Israeli town of] Netivot.

We usually like to vote for someone quite right wing and who actually does something, so definitely not Kadima, and not Labour. So that probably leaves Likud. It's unfortunate that we have to choose by a process of elimination.

The other day my daughter arrived at school in tears. It's only a six minute walk to school, and it was nice weather, but during that walk she had six rocket warnings.

The Arabs are reminding us again that they don't think we have a right to Sderot and they want us out.

Mechi's husband David:

Whenever human life is taken, it's tragic, but when we're talking about murderers who are trying to kill us, it's a big relief.

On the other hand we're convinced that the innocent people who were killed, this is totally the fault of Hamas who use them as human shields.

We believe all life is sacred, so the Hamas regime is at fault.

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