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Gazans doubt Hamas' intentions as Israel assault continues

Many Gazans are are starting to wonder if Hamas, which is continuing fire rockets into Israel, really wants peace as the Jewish state began a ground operation in to deal with the rocket tthreat. 

GAZA CITY: After a brief humanitarian ceasefire between Gaza and Israel, more rockets have been fired into Israel, as the Jewish state began a ground operation in Gaza.

The loss of human life is building and many people in Gaza are wondering who the real winners here could ever be.

In northeastern Gaza, the roads are empty, as most residents have left their homes after being instructed by Israeli forces. They have left behind everything, seeking refuge in United Nations-run schools.

But some residents, like Abu Adham Herzallah, have decided to ignore the Israeli instructions and stay behind.

He said: "My son told me that the Jews will bomb the Rezzeq family house. I asked him why and then while we were talking, they bombed the house. Within three minutes, the rocket came…I tell you, even if they bomb the whole area, we will not leave our house."

The Gaza resident is praying the airstrikes will stop. But he believes this will only happen when Hamas stops firing rockets at Israel from densely populated areas inside Gaza.

Gaza militants have stockpiles of rockets including those with a range of up to 160 kilometres.

For the past 13 years, Palestinian armed groups have carried out rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, but with varying frequency.

"The occupation is what started the war, and resistance is a human right to defend ourselves. Militants launched rockets into Israel. Now the ones who started the war should end it,” said Mousheer Al Masri, a spokesman for the Hamas movement in Gaza.

“We are not calling for a war. We don't want an escalation of war. We want a ceasefire and we want peace".

But even Gazans are starting to wonder if Hamas, which is continuing fire rockets into Israel, really wants peace.

"Hamas has nothing to lose from starting this round of fighting with Israel,” said Mukhaimer Abu Saa’da, a political analyst.

“It was not able to pay the salaries of its employees, and it was also facing a political isolation so Hamas know that a new round of fighting will put an end to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, and to its own stalemate.

“It’s too early to say who will win the war but definitely the Palestinians in the Gaza strip are the biggest losers of this war."

Gaza's 1.8 million residents certainly have everything to lose, and as the death toll continues to mount, Israel's Operation Protective Edge is their worst nightmare.

Regardless of whether a ceasefire holds or not, civilians on both sides of the conflict have paid a price for their respective government's militarism. The situation on the strip and in towns across the border remains tense. Residents live in fear, while the world holds its breath in hope for a peaceful resolution. 

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