is niet meer.

De ploeg van is verhuisd naar waar we samen met anderen aan een nieuwswebsite werken. De komende weken en maanden bouwen we om tot een archief van 10 jaar werk van honderden vrijwilligers.

From Gaza: interview with Ewa Jasiewicz

From Gaza: interview with Ewa Jasiewicz

We did an interview from Gaza with Ewa Jasiewicz. She is the co-ordinator of The Free Gaza Movement, the organisation that tries to break the siege of Gaza. She is also one of the few foreign journalists in Gaza. She tries to cover the war in her articles in The Guardian and the website Counterpunch.

Zie je geen audiospeler? Kijk dan even na of:

  1. De Flash-player (versie 9) is geïnstalleerd op je computer. De player kan je gratis downloaden op
  2. Javascript is geactiveerd in je browser.

Download audio (14.73 MB)


How are you?
I'm okay, what can I say?

Can you describe where you are and how the situation is there?
Ok, I'm in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza strip and I've been in Kabaliah today where there has been a company of ambulances. I also went to 'a port' of refugees that come from the areas where there's a lot of fighting. It's a very intense situation. People hating, so much heartship, and very very traumatised as well. Especially children. They are all like sleeping in classrooms in school, so you got 30 people in one room and a lot of pressure.

Everybody wants to talk about what they have seen, but actually not so many people have seen that much because they have been hiding in their home. So it's hard to get accurate statements from people, because everyone is talking at once, you come in a room with thirty people and everyone looks at you. People are very scared as well because of what happened at the al-Fakhora School, which is very close to the school I went today. You know there was a massacre.

Can you do your work there as a journalist?
I've been doing my work very badly, because I'm supposed to be a coordinator for Free Gaza. There's a Free Gaza ship coming, basically I don't believe it's gonna get through and the other thing is I'm in a sort of emergency-response mode which means rather than having gone to Gaza city tonight to kind of look at all my emails, I just decided to stay in the north. I'm also paranoid that the Israeli forces will come in and cut the north from the south, so they'll cut the north from Gaza city which would be a nightmare really because this is the place where the resistance is.

Are you afraid? How is it to work in fear?
Yes, well you know, a very brave friend of mine working for the civil defense was covered in blood, he was very distressed because he said his friend has been killed and he was a doctor. Which would take the death up to seven. Like rescuers and doctors. Two nights ago a missile somewhere was fired on one of our ambulances. It didn't explode. We just walked , so we were really lucky, because if it would have exploded, the medics would have died and it would have caused a lot of dammage. So it is very dangerous to work here. We just walked to meet a friend from Jabalia hospital. We were very scared, we were going to pass all these blasted houses and we walked through the graveyard where all those snipers are located at one end of the graveyard, so that was really worrying, we could have been sniped out, not many people walk around at night, not in the graveyard anyway.

How do the palestinian people feel about this war? Do they understand what Israel is trying to reach?
A lot of people say: `I don't know what they want´. Like people are coming to these conclusions now, they can't believe what's happening to them and they are in a state of shock about it, so they are saying: `We don't know what they want. We don't know what they want.´ I mean, I do think they do know what they want. It's the fulfillment of a project that has started more than sixty years ago. To install an Israeli state on palestinian land which exists already on 78 percent of the palestinian land. It's the zionist mentality that seaks to create the greater Israel. I think people comming from that school of thought and I think they are lost in within seeing the military position and seeing the governments position. They see it as only a matter of time before they fulfill this project. I think they look at it like 'In only twenty years of time they could have reached their goal'. If you look at the way the mass of palestinians is changed, like from 1967 progressively onward would be an enlargement of settlements, creation of new settlements, the colonisation of east Jerusalem and its creation of a parallel road- and tunnelsystem. If the settlements grow it's gonna turn Palestine into a much more 'bantoonised' entity than it is now. I do believe that people within senior positions in the Israeli government think they can have a greater Israel and it is only a matter of time, and if they just keep up the pressure on the palestinian people and destroy the resistance they might be able to get there.

How do people feel about Hamas?
People support Hamas, they might not support them as a political party or as a movement in government, but they support the palestinian struggle and project and resisitance. They see those attacks as attacks on all of them, I mean, civilians are the majority that are victims of these attacks. So everybody is part of the resistance, wether they are armed resistance or physical resistance. Whatever they are doing they are resisting the occupation. New people will join the struggle, definitly, people who lost their fathers, their cousins. So many families are affected by these massacres.

So Hamas keeps on growing?
Everyone I talk to says that everybody is coming together in unity against the occupation attack. All of the armed resistance groups are working together, sharing information, doing joint operations, just working together, organising against the common enemy. You know the radios, different radio stations like 'the voice of the people' and Al Aqsa radio, they all are reporting all the time about the attacks that have happened and also resitance attacks. Even on television they are showing some of the operations of the resistance, so there is this atmosphere of resistance and revenge. They say here: `me and my brother against our cousin, me and my cousin against stranger´. Which means, these attacks on Hamas are attacks on everybody. Because of the position that Hamas is taking is the majority popular position, that's why people voted for them: it's stance on Jerusalem, on borders, on the recognition of Israel, and they are trying to undo the dammage done by the Oslo accords which sold out the palestinian people. Those are ideals that still hold true now. What Hamas is right now, is irrelevant, it's much more about the kind of general, sort of luitenants of the palestinan struggle.

What about the worldwide demonstrations? For example, in Brussels there were more than 50.000 people supporting the palestinian struggle. Did palestinian people hear about that?
Yes, the people here heard about it and they are happy about it but they are also very pragmatic. I wanted to say cynical, but it's more about pragmatism. They want much more, they need much more. The demonstrations are not enough because they are not stopping Israel and their attacks. All the attacks keep going. When you look at the way that people are struggling here, the blood price that people are paying being compared to people demonstrating and okay having a fight with the police, but it's incomparable to the lived resistance and lived terror and loss that people go through. When people weigh up how much of the price they are paying here compared to the kind of sacrifices people are making out in the rest of the world, they want more. It's gonna take more, of course it's gonna take more.

Do you think these actions will change something?
I don't know what kind of platforms the parties are actually running on. I think they are both quite beligerant as far as I understand it. I don't know really, to be honest. I don't even look at the internet.

How bad is the humanitarian crisis? What are people missing out of on daily basis?
People are missing out on food supplies, food and vegetables, flower, gas is in short supply, meat is very expensive, everything here is very expensive, the people here are not working. They are living on handouts, which even now was a problem because many of the international money transfer shops have been bombed. I have seen flower is for sale in the street but again it's very expensive. People are getting a ration from the United Nations but it's quite erratic and, you know, maybe what they would be getting monthly they are now getting every two months. So that is causing a lot of stress. I wouldn't say people are starving but they are malnourished. People are not getting enough milk. Like in the UN school where I went to, the refugees coming out of their homes and these were people who were trapped in their homes without water, without electricity, without gas, without anything for about two weeks. The UN is providing a bit but it's rationed, it's like survival packages.

You end your article in 'The guardian' by saying that you felt like being in a refugee camp. You still have this feeling, I suppose...
In the schools where people are taking refuge from the battle zone where there's like street battles, street fights going on, they don't have electricity at night, the schools are all completely dark with candles... So, yes, it feels like living in tents. People got no light, they got a wood stove fire going and there's very little food which is being shared between people. Especially, for some people they are made refugees for the first time, actually leaving their homes for the first time. 30 per cent of the people here that aren't refugees. So it's a minority. But now, with this, the landscape is changing and people say they don't even recognize their neighborhood anymore.

What do you think we can do from here?
An escalation of resistance against war crimes and the Israeli occupation. We have to remember that the law is on our side and if we want to use the arguments of the international law, we have got them. There are companies violating international laws by investing in israeli and building settlements and the Apartheidwall. They are all violating international laws and they can be brought to court. The law is on our side and we can be radical with that. We can remember what happened when women activists smashed up hawk jets that were going to be taken to Indonesia, when they did this. They did this to prevent a greater war crime to take place, because the planes were gonna be used to bomb civilians. This argument can be used for bulldozers, which are used as weapons of destruction. In England we occupied a Caterpillar factory, no charges were brought against us.

They fear these political trials so we should bring them on. I think that companies who enable Israel to continue its military occupation is a good way to start. And also putting pressure on the European Union not to upgrade relations with Israel from the trade-agreement it has at the moment to the cultural, political an diplomatic agreements that it is seeking at the moment and that was approved by the Council of Ministers in December, in contradiction to what the European Parliament wanted: that there would be no upgrade. They made this decision based on Gaza.

What about boycotting israeli products? Do you think that can change something?
Yes, I do. It is a tool in our box. Boycotting is definitly a way forward. Boycotting cultural institutions, boycotting Israel as a holiday destination, boycotting Israel cultural events, music, everything we can. And the cultural and educational sphere is exactly the sphere where Israel feels that it is legitimized, that it's indeed a good state, that people respect Israeli intelligence and Israeli activities. It's not a boycot against individual researchers or academics, it's against the institutions. So it doesn't really detter possible relationships between academics but it makes it clear that institutions must be seen in the context of an occupying power and an apartheid state.


Interview: Gianni
Edit: Nieves Pellicer