|Lina al-Sharif, 18, student in Gaza City|
|Fighting has convulsed the Gaza Strip
in recent days [EPA]
Last night, where I live in Gaza City, Hamas loyalists took over our roof and the downstairs of our building.
Fatah loyalists were on the buildings opposite and the Hamas fighters were shooting from our building. Many windows were broken and bullets were flying into our house.
My dad said we must move to my aunt’s house – which is very close – so we went there and stayed for seven or eight hours, then we were told it was safe and we went home.
The Hamas loyalists on our roof came down and said: “Forgive us for the damage.”
I said: ‘It’s hard to forgive but, OK, we have to forgive.”
‘Both sides mistaken’
“We will have separate regions – Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza [but] we want one state“
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People here in Gaza are saying that things here are getting worse and worse. They have stopped all aid to us now, and a Gaza without aid is a dead Gaza.
I am a realist. I think both sides are mistaken, both are thinking about themselves and being selfish. If you were thinking about the Palestinians you would be good to them. Hamas wants war and Fatah will not accept this.
I’m just trying to be Palestinian. People ask me: “Are you Fatah or Hamas?” I say no – I’m Palestinian, I’m not on any side.
The past few days have been terribly bad, I have never felt so afraid. When Israel kills us, they are our enemies, but Fatah and Hamas are Palestinian – just like us.
I also have another stress – my exams at school. I want to succeed and get a high grade, but how can I when there are bullets flying everywhere?
A new stage
It is much quieter today, the streets have been empty for the past few days, but today [Friday] Gaza is revived. There are cars in streets, you’d think we were free from Israeli occupation!
People are very hopeful and and happy because of what happened, but it’s not good because it’s not a victory for Hamas or Fatah. If anything, it’s worse.
All Fatah loyalists have surrendered but what will happen now? We will have separate regions – Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
This is not good – we want one state, one region, one Palestine!
People here rely on aid from EU and and the Arabian states but now no one wants to give us aid. There will be no funds, this will increase poverty and unemployment.
We are at a new stage now in Gaza.
|Hatem Mohamed, 22, aid worker|
It is only today [Friday] for the first time in four days that we can go out on the streets.
One good thing is that Hamas targeted many collaborators who worked for Israel
There are many Hamas men on the roads, which is good. My area, Rimal, is mainly Fatah, but now I can see Hamas flags everywhere.
Last night I was staying home with my family and we were all hiding in our rooms. My house is located on a main street and many Fatah militants were fighting outside.
There was no electricity and we couldn’t see how things were going. We heard explosions and shootings but we didn’t know what was happening or who the targets were.
I’m happy now because it’s calmed down where I am, but many people were really terrified. I was more worried for the children – my niece and nephew live in an area where there was terrible shooting and my little niece was afraid. She kept saying: “My God, my God!” and hugging her mother and sister.
My father and I were afraid but it it worse for children, I hope the future will bring more safety for the children of Gaza.
‘Killing our brothers’
I am really sad about … what happened in the last few days, because I have a dear friend who was killed.
His name was Shadi, he was 21 and he was at the rally on Wednesday calling on fighters to stop the killing.
I was supposed to join, but as I was walking there the shooting started – at the very people who were saying no to killing our brothers!
The killers were masked gunmen, I don’t know from what party. It was very sad.
One good thing is that Hamas targeted many collaborators who worked for Israel and committed many crimes – such as killing Palestinians just because they had beards and blowing up supermarkets and houses linked to Fatah.
Now Hamas has won which is good, but we have so many problems here and pressure from the outside community as well, especially from the US and Israel. We already have had no food or security for the last year.
I don’t think the Fatah militants are all bad or criminals, many are good people who want to work for the Palestinian people. Hamas just targeted those who killed other Palestinians and helped the Israelis.
I think some people from Fatah will say: “OK, you [Hamas] can have Gaza and we will have the West Bank.” But I reject this.
When Palestinians kill their brothers it is very bad. I have had a friend killed from such incidents and I know how hard it is.
Finding a solution
The solution – what I demand as a Palestinian – is an agreement between the two parties. Fatah can even still have some power.
For the past two years we have had two authorities controlling Gaza and it has created conflict
This past month, when we heard explosions, we knew it was the Palestinians fighting each other, but now when we hear something we will know that it will be from fighting the Israeli occupation.
It will feel like a war between two sides, not the same side fighting itself. For the past two years we have had two authorities controlling Gaza and it has created conflict.
For example, my father’s car was stolen a few months ago but we did not know who to go to – Hamas or Fatah? We went to the police but were they were weak and had not got their salaries, so they did nothing.
Now, if I have a problem and want to complain, I can go to the controllers: Hamas.