By John Sexton
Yousuf Ramadan counselor of the Palestinian Embassy in Beijing told China.org.cn today that the Palestinian people would never give up in the face of the Israeli invasion of Gaza and said Israeli troops would suffer heavy losses.
Israeli soldiers guard at Gaza border after Israel started the ground operation on Jan. 3, 2009. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Saturday evening began its ground operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, an IDF spokesman told Xinhua. [Xinhua]
"The people of Gaza will stand fast, they will not give up. Let the Israelis be sure. Our people have not given up before and we will not give up in the future. Now there is no difference any more between Hamas, or Fatah or the PFLP or any of the other organizations. We are all Palestinians under one flag." Mr Ramadan told China.org.cn.
Mr Ramadan said there was heavy fighting going on between the Israelis and all the Palestinian resistance movements. "There is no comparison between the military equipment of the Israelis and the military equipment of the resistance. So obviously the Israelis will enter Gaza City, but I am sure there are going to be heavy losses for the Israelis."
Dismissing Israel's claim that its operation was aimed solely at Hamas, Mr Ramadan pointed to the growing number of civilian casualties. "We have so far lost 76 children under 13 years old. Those children had nothing to do with Hamas. Yesterday they bombed a mosque while people were praying, killing 10 people." Mr Ramadan said 470 Palestinians have been killed and 2400 injured so far since the Israeli attacks started on 27 December.
Mr Ramadan welcomed Mondays' planned meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas "We are told he [Sarkozy] has a new initiative. Hopefully it will work." But he was skeptical that Israel would respond as long as it retained the full backing of the United States. Asked about a planned meeting of the UN Security Council, Mr Ramadan said "We don't hope for much because the United States will veto any decision by the Security Council which would condemn Israel. If the Israelis reject calls for a ceasefire, the Americans will support them all the way."
Mr Ramadan welcomed growing condemnation of the Israeli action by the international community. "Decisions are getting better every day. Unfortunately those decisions are getting better due to the circumstances on the ground, due to the heavy losses. How many people do we have to lose? How many children do we have to lose?"
(China.org.cn January 4, 2008)