Gazans mostly suffer from racism – video


Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:51PM GMT
Interview with James Haywood, Palestine Campaign

The least the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza want is to visit the villages where their grandparents grew up in, many of them located in the occupied Palestinian territories, says an activist.

Press TV interviewed James Haywood from Campaign for Palestine who led members of university groups on a trip to Gaza to see with their own eyes conditions on the ground in Gaza. Following is the text of the interview:

Press TV: Why [did you travel to] Gaza and why now?

Haywood: We have been doing trips to the West Bank and Palestine for a long time and it must be three years now. Gaza would never been able to get into before.

After the Egyptian revolution, we naively were looking for an opportunity to get through the Rafah Crossing with Egypt and after a lot of difficulty we did eventually get in.

So it was important for us. This was similar to a perfect opportunity to finally get to Gaza.

Press TV: What were you hoping to see and what did you see?

Haywood: Our main goal was just being an eyewitness to the siege, to the condition in Gaza and we got more than our fair share of that. I mean we cannot go anywhere in Gaza without seeing the devastation. There are so many things you do not see in the press which we were able to experience like electricity because Israel has destroyed the only power plant in Gaza.

So electricity is a huge problem… we really were able to get a feeling of just how much things like this small thing, electricity, can affect so much the daily life of people.

Press TV: What were they telling you, Gazans, you know, about you were sleeping, eating, talking with them?

Haywood: It is funny because you begin to realize that the Palestinians suffer more than anything else of racism and so just being with students, with fishermen, with families, they are just normal people.

They are just like me and you. They have got just the same aspiration as us. They want to live normal lives but have been fundamentally denied this by the occupation, by the racism; they suffer from Israel and from the international community.

One of the very incredible things we were able to grasp really was just the images so even for activists like I myself. You still have the same issue with being extremist or terrorist, whatever kind of nonsense you hear in the media. Just being able to meet people who were just normal people, it was an important experience to have.

Press TV: What did they say they wanted?

Haywood: Freedom, simple as that, the freedom to live normal lives, the freedom to do simple things, just like to go and visit Egypt, simple things like that. It is incredibly difficult for them.

The freedom to go and visit where their grandparents grew up, you know, which is now mostly in Israel. The fact that we could go and visit where their grandparents lived, where they were expelled from in 1948, we as Europeans could visit those areas, those towns, those villages but they could not, as Palestinians who had family there.

I mean, that is just something that shows how much racism they actually suffer. So it is that basic freedom that they are after more than anything else.

Press TV: What do you want people who are witnessing this interview between us to take from your visit there because actually we cannot talk to the people who you spoke to? What message are you trying to bring to us?

Haywood: Definitely, well, I think the main message that is straightly coming from the Palestinians is to hold its role and the international community to account on these things.

We met the Al-Samouni family, I am sure many of your viewers may know them, it is a family that was completely massacred during an operation, 29 members of the same family killed, all their farmland destroyed. We met them; they said the judge, Goldstone, from the United Nations had come to visit them.

He cried when he heard the story. He was hugging them. He went back and made the UN report, the Goldstone report, which said that Israel has committed war crimes. Two months before we arrived in Gaza, he retracted that statement and said, “No, I was wrong’.

They [Al-Samouni family] said we do not blame Israel for this; we blame the international community because Israel is being allowed to get away of a massacre daily in Gaza and that is the crucial thing we had to see there.

We met groups, for example, from the Boycott Campaign, Launch from Gaza which said you go home and do the campaign by boycotting [Israeli] goods, by supporting the academic boycott, by the cultural boycott.

All these things are crucial ways which helped in South Africa holding the apartheid regime to account and can definitely help now in holding Israel to account.



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