In a rare interview with Israel’s Channel 12 news on Monday, a woman who lives in the Gaza Strip described her terror during Israeli air strikes in recent days as part of Operation Breaking Dawn and said public support for the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror groups was fading.
She spoke as the Palestinian coastal enclave was recovering from three days of bombardments by the Israeli military as PIJ fired over a thousand rockets and mortar bombs at Israel. An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire came into effect late Sunday.
Speaking in English and on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals from Hamas, which rules the Strip, the woman said there has been a change in public sentiment.
“The view, the perspective, the thought of Gaza people has changed completely. In the previous wars, they were with the resistance, with Hamas and Jihad, but now people are calling for the stop of war,” she said.
“The only one who gets demolished and [are] losing is the people of Gaza, not the leaders,” she said.
The woman said she lies to her children during Israeli air strikes, telling them “it is a celebration, not a bombing.”
“They try to believe me but look at my face and see how I’m scared and know that I’m not giving the truth,” she said.
In one especially fearful moment, the woman said she was in the kitchen in her home while one of the children was in another room. “I felt a sudden bombing happen, I felt like my child would go with this bombing,” she said.
During the three-day conflict between Israel and PIJ, Hamas remained on the sidelines as Israeli jets pounded targets in Gaza, killing two PIJ leaders in targeted attacks. Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield intercepted many of the hundreds of rockets fired by PIJ at cities across southern and central Israel.
During what the IDF dubbed Operation Breaking Dawn, which began on Friday, 46 Palestinians were killed, among them 15 children and four women, according to the Gazan health authorities.
Israel says some fatalities, including as many as 12 of the children, were victims of PIJ’s own rockets falling short inside the Strip.
The Israeli military believes 51 people were killed in Gaza during the round of fighting, 24 of them from the PIJ group.
In Israel, three were injured and tens of thousands were repeatedly forced into bomb shelters as rocket sirens alerted them of incoming attacks, while residents of border communities spent three days sheltering.
The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, which took effect late Sunday, capped one of the shortest rounds of fighting since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. Israel and Hamas fought four wars over the past 15 years, including an 11-day conflict last May.