Ofer Cassif of Israel’s left-wing party Hadash expresses regret over the attacks on Israel but also criticizes the occupation policy in Gaza, which he believes has set the stage for disaster.
– We have warned about this time and again… everything will explode, and everyone will pay a price – primarily civilians on both sides, and unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened, he says.
On Saturday, thousands of missiles were fired at Israel by the Palestinian group Hamas, killing around 600 Israelis. The attack follows an Israeli strike on a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin last summer and an assault on Al-Aqsa Mosque in April.
Ofer Cassif of Hadash warns that the situation will worsen unless Israel changes its approach towards Palestinians. He accuses the Israeli government of being “far-right” and promoting ethnic cleansing in Gaza.
– We condemn and oppose any assault on innocent civilians. But in contrast to the Israeli government that means that we oppose any assault on Palestinian civilians as well. We must analyse those terrible incidents [the attacks] in the right context – and that is the ongoing occupation, states Cassif, as reported by the Qatari-Arabic news channel Al Jazeera.
Cassif, whose party holds four of the 120 seats in Israel’s legislative assembly, the Knesset, believes the only way to end the conflict is to stop the occupation of Gaza.
– The only thing Netanyahu cares about is not the well-being of the citizens of Israel, let alone of Palestinians in the occupied territories. He is interested in surviving. He just wants to stay out of prison, says Cassif.
– The only way to stop the bloodshed of both peoples is to put an end to the occupation, says the left-winger.
Fact: Hadash and Ofer Cassif
Hadash, an acronym for Hachazit Hademokratit leshalom uleshivyon, or the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality in English, is a leftist party that consists of the Israeli Communist Party, Maki, and other left-wing groups.
The majority of the party's voter base is Palestinian, including the party leader Ayman Odeh. Ofer Cassif is currently the party’s only Jewish member in the Knesset.