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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Gaza and West Bank viewpoints
Palestinians discuss how the separate Fatah and Hamas administrations in the West Bank and Gaza have affected their lives - and their hopes for the future.

IHAB FARAH, 42, IT MANAGER, GAZA CITY

On a personal level, I have given the Hamas takeover a lot of thought because I am Christian.

I don't think Hamas will impose an Islamic way of life - but who knows what will happen in future? These people might change their minds quickly and it could affect the Christian community.

My main concern is for my children; I have two daughters and a son. Will we have to go to another country? I hope not.

Most of my employees are Hamas supporters

The closure of Gaza has not really affected my work - although we haven't been able to get any equipment in.

Most of my employees are Hamas supporters, young men in their 20s or 30s. Until now there has been no problem about this; they are well educated and know about the history of people in Gaza and the West Bank.

I work in the private sector, so we take Friday and Saturday off. I have friends who work for the Hamas government in Gaza. They were expelled from their office on Thursday, because Hamas says the weekend is Thursday and Friday.

We are all one people, whether we live in the West Bank or Gaza, so we can't have two governments. We have to get together and solve this issue.

SHAWQI ISSA, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER, BETHLEHEM

Shawqi Issa, Bethlehem

What happens in Gaza affects all Palestinian people.

There needs to be Palestinian dialogue. Hamas must reverse what they did by giving back Palestinian government institutions - and then have new elections.

We need to elect the president and the parliament on the same day - so people are voting for an entire political programme.

Last time people voted for a Fatah president and then a year later voted for a Hamas government. So there was always conflict between the two.

If they vote for Hamas again, the world will have to deal with it. When Israel killed Rabin and elected Netanyahu - who opposed implementing the Oslo accords - the world still dealt with him.

MOHAMMED AL-ROZZI, 22, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY STUDENT, GAZA

Of course the closure of Gaza checkpoints has affected me.

I am in my final graduation term. I should have finished by now, but I couldn't get to Egypt to do the final coursework because the Rafah checkpoint was closed. So now, I am waiting.

When you see the scale of support for Hamas, you can't imagine that popularity stopping

There are 10 of us occupational therapy students in Gaza. Some of us went to Egypt in mid-May - before Hamas took over - now they are stuck there, trying to get back in.

Today there was a demonstration for those killed by the Israeli occupation. Ten people were killed last week.

The demonstration was full of people from Hamas - and when you see support on that scale, you can't imagine their popularity suddenly stopping.

I hope the situation changes quickly. Some people want to emigrate, but I don't want to leave. I feel there's some hope here in Gaza.

NILLY ABU ARQUB, 32, HEALTH WORKER, RAMALLAH

Nilly Abu Arqub, Ramallah

I work for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. We supervise primary health care clinics across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, providing medicine and health care in remote areas.

Because of the closure we cannot visit our colleagues in Gaza. But even before Hamas took the Gaza Strip, it was very difficult.

Sometimes the Israelis wouldn't give us permits, and even if we had them, the security meant they could close Erez checkpoint.

I think Hamas and Fatah should start negotiating again, and start thinking about another solution. Both Hamas and Fatah need to be involved to help the Palestinian people.

Abu Mazen needs the support of Palestinians. If he relies on Israeli and US support alone, it won't help. He needs a balance.



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