The three-day cease-fire, which took effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday August 5, was agreed to late Monday by both Israel and Hamas following talks in Cairo. Egyptian mediators were working to shuttle between Palestinian and Israeli delegations to try to work out an agreement.
Israel killed at least 1800 Palestinians and more than 10,000 have also been injured after it announces the withdrawal of all its troops from Gaza under international pressure. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Both sides said they would engage in talks on a lasting arrangement to keep the peace.
Both parties have already made clear demands before the negotiations, Israel aims to ensure Hamas cannot rebuild its rocket arsenal and military capabilities, while Hamas wants the Israeli blockade of goods and people into Gaza lifted. But the negotiations are bound to be tricky, as Israeli officials emphasized that their army, navy and air force remained deployed near Gaza, primed to respond to any attacks from the coastal territory.
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry told British Broadcasting Corp. during an interview that both sides to take advantage of the Gaza truce to move toward broader negotiations.
Palestinians Went to Check Their City
Despite they know that most of Gaza is destroyed now, there was little sense of celebration that the fighting had stopped. Palestinians in Gaza take a risk in the second day of cease-fire and went to their city streets to look for of food, household goods and medical supplies, taking advantage of the pause in Israeli shelling and airstrikes.
The complete scene was really horrible! Houses, hospitals, schools and shelters of the United Nations were all shelling and bombarding by Israeli army! Many residents of Gaza returned from shelters to check outside world and begin rebuilding their damaged homes.
The United Nations revealed that about 260,000 of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents have been displaced by the fighting. Many thousands of them stay gathered in schools or in their friends’ / relatives’ homes. Many have no place to return now.
Palestinians are talking …
Interviewed Palestinians said they thought this cease-fire was more likely to succeed than previous ones, which quickly collapsed amid new violence, even though they are facing a major challenge in reconstruction with bad infrastructure. The only power plant in Gaza is out of service now after it was bombed by Israel! The water and sewage systems are also damaged, as well as hospitals urgently need resupplying.
“I think my workshop was here, but honestly I can’t make sure of that,” said carpenter Mahmoud Al Maghani, 44, in the Shijaiyah neighborhood east of Gaza City. “I came yesterday and all I found was rubble.”
“We lost in one instant all we had worked for 40 years to build,” said Fouad Harara, 55, who had worked for decades as a laborer in Israel. “The only thing we gained is destruction.”
In Beit Hanoun, a northern Gaza town, Mohammed Musleh, 27, surveyed his now uninhabitable third-floor apartment and said he hoped that this time a real solution could be found to end the isolation Gazans have endured since Israel imposed a blockade in 2007, followed by one by Egypt late last summer.
The same situation was in Shejaiya neighborhood in eastern Gaza. Homes and streets looked as they had been through an earthquake. Hani Harazeen, 42, searched the rubble of his destroyed home for anything he could find.
“We used to praise God that we all had work and lived together,” he said of himself and his brothers, who lived with their families in adjacent buildings. “Now we are scattered all over and looking for places to sleep.”
He told reporter of NY Times that he had not seen any Palestinian fighters before he fled the area and had no idea how they had fought.
“The war started, and the resistance responded,” he said. “But does Hamas have fighter jets? Can its rockets do this to a home?”
Israel Repeats: The Reason is Hamas!
Israel throws its excuses – for this war – in the air. The reason for this war is targeting Hamas! Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers the war “justified” and “proportional,” blaming Hamas for expanding the death toll by rejecting an earlier cease-fire, saying that Hamas is engaging in “child sacrifice” by using human shields. He just ignored that fact that more than 350 children were killed by Israel during the current war!
According to witnesses, Zionist Israeli army hit many places have no relations with Hamas or Palestinian resistances! The director of operations for the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza, Robert Turner, ensure that the target building – UN school – which bombed by Israel had been providing shelter for some 3,000 people. The Palestinians killed in that building was more than 50, including at least one UN staffer.
‘The locations of all these installations have been passed to the Israeli military multiple times. They know where these shelters are. How this continues to happen.’ Robert Turner said.
Blockade MUST End: Said Hamas
In Gaza, Hamas said they would not stop firing rockets without an end to blockade of the territory that has devastated the local economy.
“The most important thing to us is removing the blockade and starting to reconstruct Gaza,” said Bassam Salhi, a Palestinian delegate. “There can be no deal without that.”
Israel wants what they call “militants in Gaza” to be disarmed and Hamas demands the end of blockade on Gaza. While negotiations are still going on, the outlines of a possible solution have emerged, including an internationally funded reconstruction of Gaza overseen by a Palestinian unity government led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Just like Gaza is waiting for talks results … its worldwide supporters are just the same.