Below is a letter from a Palestinian in Gaza who was forced to help build some of the tunnels. I received this from a friend in Israel.
The truth about Hamas – True and heart breaking story By Itzik Azar, Translated by Moshe Mekler July 2014
A letter from Ahmed, son of a friend of mine from Gaza. This letter came to my hands from Ahmed that lives in Gaza.
Background: I knew Ahmed’s father, Mussah, who worked many years ago at a metalworking shop in south Tel Aviv district. A very nice man who used to leave every morning Gaza at 04:00 am and start working at 6:30 am at the metalworking shop in the Tel Aviv. Mussah worked hard in order to provide for his family to buy an apartment in the city of Gaza. Ahmed, Mussah’s son used to come once in a while to help his father with his work.
Today Ahmed, a 30 year old father, writes his history:
“Many years ago when my father had to leave his work in Tel Aviv, he started to work in a small metalworking shop in Gaza. Economy was hard and I used to help him work in order to provide for our family. A minute after Israel had to leave the Gaza strip in 2006, Pickup trucks started driving around the city with thugs from Hamas and they raged the streets of the city. They were shooting everywhere and hitting every person that looked like he was against their agenda. People were afraid to walk the streets; my father banned my family to leave the house for a few days. After a few days only me and my father went outside to the metalworking shop in order to provide for our family. Every time we heard a vehicle we would fear and look for a hideout at the shop.
“One day a pickup truck filled with Hamas thugs stopped by the shop. They went in and took the owner. Two days later he came back with his face down and talked to my father. I sat aside and listened. I understood Hamas notified him that from today his shop will work for Hamas, and Hamas only. They set the prices and the demand that was ordered from the shop. Since that day every morning an armed Hamas member used to come to the shop and give us orders to make winged metal pipes and straight ahead I understood that they were used to launch rockets.
“One day a pickup truck drove by and stopped. The Hamas members came down and took my father from the shop. We never saw him again. Later I understood they killed him and threw his body to a pit. Life became harder and harder, work wasn’t easy, we got a small allowance that barely was enough for bread and milk. One day a friend of mine offered me to come with him to do some work, since I needed the money I went with him. We came to an apartment in Gaza. We were six guys, and they put us at the back of a truck, where we sat in the dark and couldn’t see where we were going. We drove for an hour and finally they stopped and we come out of the truck standing in a closed building; we didn’t know where we are.
“They showed us a whole in the ground and told us to go down. The slope was scary and we found ourselves inside a tunnel. We walked for a few hundred meters and we got to the end where two Hamas members waited for us. They gave us working tools and explained to us what to do in order to make the tunnel longer. Work was hard, and we were suffocating from lack of air. We used to work 8 hour shifts and then 4 hours of rest. We stayed in the tunnel for 10 days. The Hamas members changed every day, and they used to scream on us and hit us when they thought our supply of work was low. After 10 days, they took us out, put us in a truck, gave us little money and drove us back to someplace in Gaza.
“We didn’t know where we’ve been or what tunnel we dug. The pay was low but they did pay. I never came back to do that work. I went back to try to get some work at the metalworking shop but I found that it was closed. I asked the neighbors what happened, and they answered with fear that Hamas moved the shop to another location and nobody knew where. They told me that every morning a truck with Hamas members comes, picks up the workers, puts them in the closed back of the truck, and drives them away and brings them back late at night.
“I found my self working in temporary jobs in order to provide for my family. We live in constant fear, once in a while a truck full with armed Hamas members comes by and attacks civilians. We see in Gaza the rich Hamas members living in glamorous houses, driving new cars, sending their children to universities abroad while most of Gaza’s citizens are living fear and poverty, without the ability to work. Sometimes the kids are telling that Hamas is giving away free candies in different locations around Gaza. The kids go to get the sweets, and right after we hear that rockets were launched from the same location. Israel retaliates to the same location and kids get hurt.
“I write you this letter because the situation is very bad. Luckily for us we are living in the city of Gaza but we have families that live in other parts of the Gaza strip. The Hamas runs a war against Israel, shooting rockets constantly on your communities and we the people of Gaza suffer the consequences, we just have no place to hide. The members of Hamas are hiding in their bunkers under ground, some of them are not even in the Gaza strip, they are protected and they have no problem to continue to fight.
“There were many families that rented Hamas rooms and yards at the back of their homes. The Hamas gave them money to put food on the table and now they fire rockets into Israel from those people’s homes. Many of the homes get blown by your airforce strikes. We suffer so much, we’re afraid of the Hamas, we’re afraid of your bombings. There are huge explosions all the time, we hear the sound of Hamas launching their rockets and we know that in a minute their will be another sound of blast from your rockets. We heard about the tunnels that Hamas dug and I understood that I helped them. What I don’t understand is why Hamas is doing everything possible to hurt Israel instead of developing the Gaza strip to make the peoples live better.
“I hope everything will end and me and my family will survive, but I lost hope. I know that Hamas will take all the money that the world gives to restore Gaza and use it to build more tunnels, buy more weapons and build more villas for the heads of Hamas. Hamas’s thugs will continue to drive the streets and hurt the civilians. The only thing I can say is that some of Hamas leaders are hiding in bunkers under hospitals and schools because they know Israel won’t hurt them there and that’s a shame.
“We hope that the world will help to free us from the fearful and cruel Hamas rule in the Gaza strip. I’m sure that if you’ll spread this letter you won’t expose my fathers real name who was your friend and neither my name. I pray for death to all Hamas members and that we will get freedom and a chance to live a normal life for our children in Gaza. I wish we can go back to the days my father worked in Tel Aviv with his good friends in Israel.
Quote from article by Bob Seymour:
Israel is acting as humanely as she possibly can to ensure there are no civilian casualties but when Hamas uses them for shields it is impossible to avoid. Hamas has and is hiding and firing missiles from schools, hospitals and Mosques so that Israel will not bomb them, but they must. Israel goes to extremes to warn civilians to leave the areas she is about to bomb but Hamas tells them to stay there and some reports indicate that they force them to remain so that they can use the dead bodies of women and children as propaganda photo ops against Israel.
Hamas is a manifestation of evil and must be destroyed or they will continue to murder innocent civilians. Israel should not have to live under the constant fear of terrorists coming through tunnels to kidnap or murder her people or to be under the constant threat of missiles being launched at them. They have never been the aggressor and always seeks to find a peaceful resolution, but there comes a time when enough is enough and I believe that time is now.
Quote from August 4th article in JNN (Jerusalem on line):
FINISH TV: ROCKETS FIRED FROM GAZA HOSPITAL: A television reporter from the Finnish Helsingin Sanomat confirmed Friday that Hamas has been firing rockets out of the Al-Shifa Hospital. The reporter, who was not named in the television segment shot on-site at Gaza City’s main hospital, said a rocket was launched “right in the back the parking lot” of the hospital at 2 a.m. on Friday morning. “Really, it happened right in the area, the sound of it was really loud,” she said, confirming longstanding Israeli claims that Hamas is committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip by shooting from civilian concentrations, medical centers and other humanitarian institutions. “It’s true that rockets are launched here from the Gazan side into Israel,” she said. Foreign press in Gaza has scarcely reported on Hamas’ rocket launching strategy during the conflict, beyond the bare numbers and statistics. Israeli officials said last week that several Western journalists in Gaza have been harassed and threatened by Hamas for documenting cases of the terrorist group’s involvement of civilians in warfare, and expressed outrage that some in the international media apparently allow themselves to be intimidated and do not report on such incidents. Israeli sources have confirmed several incidents in which journalists were questioned and threatened. These included cases involving photographers who had taken pictures of Hamas operatives in compromising circumstances – gunmen preparing to shoot rockets from within civilian structures, and/or fighting in civilian clothing – and who were then approached by Hamas men, bullied and had their equipment taken away. (Times of Israel)