Sputnik: You visited the Gaza border this autumn. What did you find out while being there?
Qanta A. Ahmed: I think until you actually see the geography and the proximity of the threat to the state of Israel it's very difficult to interpret events from 10 thousand miles away and that's why I went. I specifically went to understand the geography of the border; I also wanted to see the tunnel networks that Hamas has built and actually walks inside the tunnels which were seemed to be high-finished concrete with ventilation, electrical wiring, [and] lightning. I went in wearing a white jacket and came out completely in fact to see where the billions of dollars of international aid have been spent.
And this is what happened is in conflict, there is a labyrinth [that] provides shelter not to Palestinian civilians — who are at the mercy of Hamas and who are themselves tremendously victim to these rabid anti-Zionists and fanatical Islamic leadership they have in Gaza — but the Hamas commanders going there, they store armaments in there.
Remember until recently the United States was providing $240 million annually to ANERA [American Near East Refugee Aid] to support these refugees. Much of this money [is] going into building the infrastructure that I was seeing. Certainly, I want people to understand that this war that you see — we are not in a war at the moment but it's true, this is the most violent skirmish between Hamas and Israel in many years.
And there is a threat that it could spill over into warfare. The war is on several levels. It is now has to abide by international rule of law. Israel is held to the same standards as the United States or Britain might be in a conflict. And Hamas consistently violates after this incident, though I don't see that as a provocation. Hamas sees the existence of Israel as a provocation to any kind of violent warfare.
Hamas is able to launch 460 rockets now we think maybe 500 rockets. Those rockets they should be properly named missiles have missile impact and they have no ability to be targeted with precision. So, they by definition will target civilians in Israel, kindergartens in Israel. The terror tunnel I went inside actually came out in a farmer field with the intent to going to a nearby kindergarten. So this is the circumstance that Israel lives with every day.
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The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.