Latest news and analysis from Gaza and Israel

Track the war and submit your own reports

Send us your views and eyewitness videos

Watch our coverage of the war on Gaza
Bishara said the majority of Gazans are refugees, whose ancestors used to live in what is now Israel.

"Everybody knows that 75 per cent of the people of Gaza are refugees. Everybody knows that Israel disengaged from Gaza militarily, but occupies it economically and politically and also it besieges Gaza militarily.

"Israel would say, "what would any normal country do if they were threatened by rocket fire? They would act".

"But Israel is not a normal country, it is an occupying country, a colonial country and the people of Gaza are under siege."

‘Punishing democracy’

Bishara said that Palestinians are being punished for choosing Hamas in the January 2006 democratic elections and accused Israeli officials for dramatising their lies.

"Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, should be asked, "What would you do if your house is besieged and you can't feed your child, can't go to school, and can't take them to the doctors and physicians when they are ill.

"I consider Hamas rockets a protest shout, they haven't hurt many, only the few. They are weapons of the poor, used to express their will.

"What brought the war was the siege. When colonial powers have historically gone to occupy countries, siege has always been a weapon. Siege is a military action at the beginning of war.

"When it did not work to break the will of the Palestinian people... Israel realised that the rockets were a response to the siege, and they went to the next phase which was direct military aggression, which is actually now directed against civilians to punish them for their democratic choice.

"What I think will happen is a ceasefire that will mean an end to the siege if the rockets stop. It will happen after the deaths of so many people."