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'Palestinians want the same freedom Gandhi fought for'

Last updated on: October 17, 2023 10:24 IST

'Israelis not only harassed Palestine Muslims, but also Christians.'
'Palestinians have been telling Israel that this will blow up the situation, but they would not listen to us.'

IMAGE: A 'Stand with Palestine' protest in Dublin, Ireland. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

On October 7, 2023, the day Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza killing more than 1,000 Israeli citizens and capturing over 100 of them, Israel intensified its war against the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

What will be the consequences of this brutal conflict?

Syed Firdaus Ashraf/ spoke to Palestinian political observer Dr Maher Awawedh. who is based in Ramallah in the the West Bank.

How could Hamas carry out such an operation?

There is no answer to this at this moment.

One thing is for sure though, Israel became very arrogant and started selling their intelligence and technology warfare to different countries of the world believing that they will never commit mistakes in (internal security).

They have been controlling Gaza for the last 17 years by blockading the entire population of Palestine living over there.

Israel controlled Gaza's electricity, education, medicine and travel was not possible without its prior consent.

They did the same thing in the West Bank area where they allowed Jewish settlers to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque (Islam's third holiest shrine).

Israelis not only harassed Palestine Muslims, but also Christians who were going to their churches peacefully.

Palestinians have been telling Israel that this will blow up the whole situation, but they would not listen to us.

And now, Palestinians could not take it anymore in Gaza and they broke their open air prison in Gaza to enter Israel and attacked them in Israeli illegal settlements.

Israel had invested two billion shekels in building those walls to protect themselves, which Palestinians broke on October 7.

We saw the Israeli army collapsing and they ran away from their bases. Even the Israeli air force was forced to take away their airplanes on trucks and run away.

But the world's sympathy is with Israel as the Hamas killed civilians and children.

Palestinians didn't kill women and children in Israel. They told them they are Muslims and they will not kill women and children.

We have seen Palestinians capturing female Israeli soldiers who were treated well.

From day one Palestinians are saying they are okay with a prisoner swap with Israel.

Israel has put more than 420 Palestinian prisoners in detention for 17 years for no reason.

This interview would not have happened with you now if Israel had agreed to all the peace negotiations that were signed by them. Israel did not implement a single peace settlement with Palestine.

I have seen videos on social media of Hamas attackers stripping Israeli women and some of them spitting on the dead body of one Israeli woman.

I didn't see this particular video. I saw Israeli civilians being captured who were settled in Palestinian territory. And by the International Court of Justice rule the illegal settlement on our land is a war crime. They are criminals occupying our territory.

Having said that, I am not justifying the video which you said you have seen on social media.

At the same time, Israel is doing same to the bodies of Palestinians.

Last week, there was a video where you can see Israeli soldier slapping a Palestinian woman and dragging her.

This happens every day to Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. And the root cause of this trouble is Israeli occupation.

If you recall, India got Independence in 1947 and around the same time (May 14, 1948) Israel came and occupied our Palestine land.

Since you mentioned India I would like to remind you that Prime Minister Narendra D Modi called the Hamas action a terror attack. Such strong words against Palestinians were never used by any Indian prime minister before.

This is internal Indian politics.

At the same time, I will not say his statement was right because I do not know it was a BJP statement or an Indian government statement.

We never heard the Indian PM speaking about the Palestinian citizens of Gaza living in prison for the last 17 years.

Each Palestinian living in Gaza is deprived of his daily maximum calorie intake because of Israeli occupation. He never spoke about such issues. Prime Minister Modi never spoke when 1,178 Palestinians were killed in this round of violence.

Videos circulating on social media in India claim that 400 Israeli children were killed by Hamas. How can Prime Minister Modi sympathise with Hamas or the Palestinian cause then?

This is the exact number of Palestinian children killed by Israelis. Not only this, no world leader spoke a word when Israel is openly telling Palestinians staying in Gaza that they need to move out to Egypt. This is ethnic cleansing and neither Prime Minister Modi nor any world leader spoke against this ethnic cleansing.

Palestinians want freedom, the same freedom which Mahatma Gandhi fought for. We need our State to be free.

But you cannot deny the fact that the sympathy of the world has shifted to Israel and even a country like India, which was very pro-Palestine, has shifted loyalties to Israel?

As a political analyst I understand how the internal politics of India works. You have a different government ruling India unlike the Congress party which was ruling India in the past. During Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi relations with Palestine were different.

Yes, Prime Minister Modi did visit Palestine and I attended his meeting too and I realise it is his internal politics of the country (that makes him support Israel).

Israel is stealing our resources, killing our people and bombing us.

They bombed Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and even on the borders of Egypt in the last 48 hours.

Israel has bombed four countries in 48 hours and no one considers it as a crime.

Is it not a crime? No one can deny this fact.

The Western media lied about Iraq (chemical weapons) and bombed the country to bits. And now, they want to make the world believe that Palestinians are criminals, but that is not a fact because we are Israeli prisoners who broke down the prison.