• Saturday, Sep 18, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:17 am

Israel-Hamas truce takes hold after 11 days of fighting

  • Published at 08:29 am May 21st, 2021
Palestinians ceasefire Gaza
Palestinians celebrate in the streets following a ceasefire, in the southern Gaza Strip May 21, 2021 Reuters

232 Palestinians, including 65 children, had been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments

An Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas began on Friday and US President Joe Biden pledged to salve the devastated Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid after the worst fighting in years.

Palestinians, many of whom had spent 11 days huddled in fear of Israeli shelling, poured into Gaza's streets. Mosque loud-speakers feted "the victory of the resistance achieved over the Occupation [Israel]."

In the countdown to the 2am (2300 GMT Thursday) ceasefire, Palestinian rocket salvoes continued and Israel carried out at least one air strike.

Each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any truce violations by the other. Cairo said it would send two delegations to monitor the ceasefire.

The violence erupted on May 10, triggered by Palestinians' anger at what they assailed as Israeli curbs on their rights in Jerusalem, including during police confrontations with protesters at Al-Aqsa mosque during the Ramadan fasting month.

The fighting meant many Palestinians in Gaza could not mark the Eid-ul-Fitr festival at Ramadan's conclusion. On Friday, throughout Gaza, postponed Eid-ul-Fitr meals were held instead.


Also Read - Guterres: Attacks between Israel, Palestinian militants unacceptable


In Israel, radio stations that had carried around-the-clock news and commentary switched back to pop music and folk songs.

Death toll

Gaza health officials said 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, had been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments. Israel said it had killed at least 160 combatants.

Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.

Palestinians celebrate in the streets following a ceasefire, in the southern Gaza Strip May 21, 2021 | Reuters

Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules Gaza, cast the fighting as successful resistance of a militarily and economically stronger foe.

In Israel, relief was bittersweet.

"It's good that the conflict will end, but unfortunately I don't feel like we have much time before the next escalation," Eiv Izyaev, a 30-year-old software engineer, said in Tel Aviv.

Amid growing global alarm, Biden had urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek de-escalation, while Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations sought to mediate.


Also Read - Gazans celebrate as truce takes hold


In a televised address on Thursday, Biden extended condolences to bereaved Israelis and Palestinians and said Washington would work with the United Nations "and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance" for Gaza and its reconstruction.

Biden said aid would be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority - run by Hamas' rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, and based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank - "in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal."

Hamas is deemed a terrorist group in the West and by Israel, which it refuses to recognize.

Power struggle

Analysts saw a key goal of Hamas's rocket campaign as being to marginalize Abbas by presenting itself as the guardian of Palestinians in Jerusalem, whose eastern sector they seek for a future state.

Making the link explicit, Hamas named the rocket operation "Sword of Jerusalem."

Children gesture from a car driving past the rubble of a damaged building as Palestinians celebrate in the streets following a ceasefire, in Gaza City May 21, 2021 | Reuters

Abbas, 85, remained a marginal figure during the 11-day conflict. He secured a first telephone call with Biden during the crisis - four months after Biden took office - but his western-backed Palestinian Authority exerts little influence over Gaza, and he made no public comment after the truce was announced.

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, an Abbas appointee, said: "We welcome the success of the international efforts led by Egypt to stop the Israeli aggression against our people in Gaza Strip," in comments published by Palestinian media.

In perhaps a worrying sign for Abbas in his West Bank heartland, some Palestinians waved green Hamas flags in Ramallah, the seat of his government.

Hamas previously demanded that any halt to the Gaza fighting be accompanied by Israeli drawdowns in Jerusalem. An Israeli official told Reuters there was no such condition in the truce.

The State Department said that Secretary of State Antony J Blinken planned to travel to the Middle East, where he would meet with Israeli, Palestinian, and regional leaders to discuss recovery efforts.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Israeli and Palestinian leaders had a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to address the root causes of the conflict.

"Gaza is an integral part of the future Palestinian state and no effort should be spared to bring about real national reconciliation that ends the division," he told reporters with serious dialogue.

76
Facebook 74
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail