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Amira Hass: The fear in Gaza

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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:02 PM
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Amira Hass: The fear in Gaza

My host at the Gaza refugee camp sounds delighted as he picks up the phone, urging some colleagues to "come on over" with a mischievous smile. The recipients of his call are two members of Hamas's military faction, responsible for firing home-made Qassam rockets into Israel (this is three years ago). He himself is a senior Hamas politician, and can't wait to see their reaction on finding a Jewish guest at his home. Two young men walk in, lean and serious-looking. They've come to discuss with my host their response to the death of a fellow Hamas member, killed in his car by an Israeli missile.

"What is the point of firing rockets?" I ask, "when Israel punishes the Gaza Strip with extensive military incursions?" They answer, unhesitating: "We want Israelis, too, to feel fear. Not just Palestinians."

There is no point in arguing with them about the politics and morals of revenge as a tactic. I could not convince them that targeting civilians merely reinforces Israelis' support of the Occupation. But I understand what they mean about fear. Twelve years of living among Palestinians has opened for me a whole spectrum of fear, the subtlest hues of fright experienced by a whole nation every minute of every day, a nation whose life is dictated by foreign rule. And does not the dictionary define terror as a "state of intense fear"?

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