My friend from Gaza writes today:
Last night can be considered quieter than the night that preceded it, especially in the South-Western side of Gaza City .... But this night was marked by heavy machine-gun fire from the helicopters, in addition to other arms such as tanks , Navy artilleries and F16 air fighters , which bombed several Buildings : One of them was the Resident of Mohammad Dahlan, which was confiscated by Hamas since the coup in June 2007.
As a result of this strike , the house of my cousin next to him was partially damaged ( member of Parliament from Fatah ), where his home was a safe haven for a large group of relatives who were representing 3 families in addition to his family!!
Another site which was struck by the F16 was a gas station which burst into flames and smoke still rising from it at the time of writing this letter.
Doctors in Gaza said that Israeli Army may be using Phosphorous missiles due to the burns they noticed on both dead and injured persons .
One can smell the war in every place in Gaza as a result of the excessive use of arms .
There was a continuous bombing raid on the smuggling tunnels in Rafah, in addition to the bombing on all fronts, especially the areas along the Gaza border with Israel (north, east and south) and by the Israeli navy war ships on the coast of Gaza.
The number of rockets fired from Hamas at Southern Israel yesterday, was 12 rockets and the day before it was 15 rockets , compared with about 50-80 rockets per day at the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip !!!
However, on the other hand , we find that the number of casualties on the Palestinian side is increasing, especially among civilians, were number of victims yesterday was , about 38, mostly civilians, while Israel claimed that the death toll yesterday was 50 , most of them were Hamas fighters!!!
In my view, although the Israeli government had announced the recruitment of the reserve for the start of Phase III, but I think that there is a political dynamic on the cease-fire because Israel is afraid of entering the cities where all of very high density, because this will cost Israel many victims ( leaders didn't want to lose many victims before the parliamentary elections in Israel on 10/2/2009) , in addition that such entering will take much time (several months and perhaps a year or more). So I think that the work of the Israeli operations now is to move these troops from their positions to clear ( raze ) the land around it with the assistance of aircraft of all kinds.
Today , the Hamas delegation will come to Cairo, consisting of 3 members from the Gaza Strip and a 2 member of the Damascus Hamas leaders to continue the discussions on a cease-fire . This led to make Amos Gilad to delay his visit to Cairo by one day (tomorrow) , as by tomorrow may be the Egyptians will have answers from Hamas ( The Egyptians looks optimistic ) .
The statement of President-elect Obama that the U.S. Would put the case for war on Gaza, on the top of his priorities when being the President of USA on 20/1/2009 , so may this convince the Israelis that this process should be terminated as soon as the required internationally.
Personally and due to the horror and psychological situation we live , my spastic colon started to operate since many days ago !!
As per all my messages to you , let's hope that such dirty war will come to an end soon , and before it will be too late !!!