- POSTED: 31 Jul 2014 18:40
- UPDATED: 31 Jul 2014 20:29
As the world's attention remains focused on Gaza, none are more concerned than Palestinians watching from the sidelines. Many who live in the West Bank have families inside Gaza and are monitoring the conflict with increasing concern and horror.
RAMALLAH: As the world's attention remains focused on Gaza, none are more concerned than Palestinians watching from the sidelines.
Many who live in the West Bank have families inside Gaza and are monitoring the conflict with increasing concern and horror.
Bassam Alsaqqa, a Palestinian resident in Ramallah, is not a supporter of Hamas, but with his relatives under attack from Israel, it is obvious whose side he is on. Bassam's brother and his family live in one of the most embattled neighbourhoods of Gaza - just a few days ago their house was bombed to the ground.
"The feeling was very bad, you are helpless, powerless, you think you could do something about the situation but you really can't," said Bassam. Not a day goes past without Bassam phoning his brother Hossam but the lines are often down and it can sometimes take hours before he gets through.
Many Palestinians are in the same situation. More than one in four Gazans have relatives in the West Bank but seldom, if ever, do they see each other. Israel's security concerns make travelling between these areas extremely difficult and ever since Hamas came to power, travel has been almost impossible.
Gaza city might be over 80 kilometres away from Ramallah but not one person in the West Bank is unaffected by what is happening there. More and more people are taking to the streets in demonstrations and protests that show not only solidarity but also anger at the Gaza conflict.
Such anger has prompted many Palestinians to take the streets. In the largest West Bank protest in nearly a decade, some 10,000 Palestinians marched from Ramallah to East Jerusalem chanting for a third intifada or Palestinian uprising against Israel.
"We know that one of the main roots of this Israeli aggression is that Prime Minister Netanyahu was not very pleased when we announced our national unity and since that moment, he has been doing everything possible in order to split Palestinians once again. But the only thing I can say is that it's clear this Israeli government is doing everything possible to push for a third intifada," said Xavier Abu Eid, communications advisor for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
But for West Bank Palestinians like Bassam Alasqqa, his simple prayer is that his family in Gaza will stay safe and that maybe one day, his son Adam will be able play with his Gazan cousins.