Despite ravages of war, Gaza supports armed resistance to lift the siege

Dima and Kamal Qadan display bombs dropped onto their home by Israeli warplanes. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Dima and Kamal Qadan display bombs dropped onto their home by Israeli warplanes. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Hours before the latest ceasefire was set to expire last night, Israel resumed attacks on the Gaza Strip and Hamas again began to launch rockets. Both sides blamed each other for the failed ceasefire. Five missiles hit the al-Dalou family home in Gaza City, killing the wife, son and three-year-old daughter of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, and injuring 18. The al-Dalou family was targeted in 2012 when an airstrike destroyed their home.

With airstrikes throughout Gaza, 22 have died and 100 wounded since the collapse of the most recent ceasefire. Rockets have landed as far into Israel as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, demonstrating Hamas’ unabated capability to continue attacks.

While Israel’s assault on Gaza has now claimed at least 2,030 lives and caused more than 10,302 injuries, along with entire neighborhoods destroyed, frustration with the status quo has boiled over into near-total support for armed resistance. As exhausted as they are with the war, everyone I spoke to across Gaza said they were willing to endure another round of fighting if it meant an improvement in the long term humanitarian situation. Beyond that, no one seemed willing to take Israel’s assault lying down.

Kamal Qadan’s family barely escaped from Rafah during the Black Friday massacre, when 120 civilians were killed after Israel invoked the Hannibal Directive — the order to conduct an all-out assault on the circumference of an area where a soldier was supposedly captured. As we sat in his home, his grandchildren played with bombs that Israeli jets had dropped through their roof. Israel had attacked them and their neighbors with F-16s, tanks, artillery, Apache helicopters, bulldozers, and snipers.

“Our life is hard under the siege,” Qadan told me. “And it would be insane not to lift it after this disaster that we lived during this war. But I don’t think it will be lifted. That’s why we need to go on and fight and be steadfast and even pay double the price if we have to so it can be lifted.”

Israeli bombs continue to rock Gaza as I write and more deaths are expected tonight. Yet the ability of Hamas to continue launching rockets and the willingness of Gazans to endure has made it clear that no military solution exists for Netanyahu and his inner circle. Gaza’s beleaguered population will accept nothing less than the lifting of the siege they have endured for almost eight years. Until then, they are left to wonder which one of them will die next.

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