Understandably the Palestinians living in the West Bank have been tremendously affected by the war in Gaza. Everyday here, huge numbers of Palestinians attend demonstrations and candlelight vigils, to voice their disgust and immense sadness about what is happening to their countrymen. The youth of Aida camp are no exception. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Yanni [Arabic for "I mean"], before Gaza I believed in peace. I don’t see peace happening after this.
What’s happening in Gaza makes me very sad. And the situation now in Gaza’s very bad. The Israeli soldiers kill the children and the women and families – people without guns, people that are not fighters. They demolished the houses…When I saw the images on the TV yanni, that makes me sick. And that makes me think, maybe that will happen here in the West Bank. You start to think yanni, maybe in the future that will happen to your family to your brothers…And that makes me feel very, very sad.
The massacres…the daily killing in Gaza…All of these things push up again to the main priority that we need our national independence first of all. We need from the international community - from all of the people outside, to support our struggle against The Occupation, to put more pressure on the Israeli Government to leave the West Bank and Gaza and just leave the Palestinians…and they can deal with themselves alone. And I believe that they can build their own state and this state will be a democratic one, a state that believes in equality and all of these human rights.
The Israelis say they want to save their settlements from the rockets but I think [this is] no reason to kill this number of the people, to kill the children, to demolish the houses on the people. That’s not reason. I think if the Israeli’s want to save the settlements or save their people from the Palestinian rockets, I think a good way is to give the Palestinian people their rights.
Do you believe that the Palestinian Authority should change its relationship with Israel as a result as what is happening in Gaza?
They should. But, they will not. I believe that the Palestinian Authority were involved in the war in Gaza. They knew about this before it happened. I don’t have faith in the Palestinian Authority. They’re not concerned with their people – the Palestinian people. Like refugees – the right of return and also…Jerusalem and also the prisoners. No one’s concerned about these hot issues. They’re just concerned about their own interests. Not about Palestine. Also not about Palestinian people.
I think with this situation, it’s stupid if you talk about the relationship or meetings between the Palestinian Government and the Israeli Government. Until now around 1000 people have been killed in Gaza. If our Authority wants to continue their relationship with Israel – I think they will lose the Palestinian people.
I think this is all about the Israeli Elections. [Tzipi] Livni wants to prove herself as a strong leader in Israel. That’s it.
These things that are happening in Gaza… mean that the Israeli Government don’t want to make peace with us. With this war, the Israeli Government throw the peace out into the sea.
So do you believe it is still possible then to find peace with Israel after this? And if so, how?
I haven’t lost my family. So, I feel in the future, we can make – not peace – but, one democratic state for all the people. Everyone under same life, same situation, same rights…With our right to return. But, for the people who have lost all of their families as we see day after day on the TV from Gaza, I don’t know how these people think about this. If you lost your family…I think it would be different to think about this. If I lose my family it’s difficult for me to think about this, but, if I saw something change in the future and the world decided to give us our rights as a Palestinian…and The Occupation ends…I think I could also change something in my mind.
I once believed in peace. But now, I don’t know. Maybe…I hope so.