On one hand, Palestinians (who had fled Gaza) celebrated the ceasefire that ended 11 days of violence between Israel and Hamas. On the other hand, they returned to see their homes and buildings reduced to pieces.
Ever since the violence started, as many as 243 Palestinians (including 66 children) and 12 Israelis (including 2 children) were killed. It erupted after weeks of unrest following a court ruling about the eviction of four Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem. For Palestine, the agitation was carried out by Hamas – a group designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the EU and the US. It fired more than 3,700 rockets into Israel and asked them to remove security forces from the Al Aqsa mosque compound. Though Israel was able to intercept most of the rockets using its Iron Dome air defence system technology, hundreds of families were still asked to seek refuge in bomb shelters. Also, instances of communal violence between Arab Israelis and Jews were seen in the country.
Photo courtesy: Aljazeera, sun.co.uk, newstatesman.com
After the ceasefire, both Israel and Hamas declared victory. In a speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the campaign was a success. He added that Israel would respond with “a new level of force against any expression of aggression against communities around Gaza and any other part of Israel.”
Even in Gaza, celebrations broke out amongst Hamas supporters. Sweets were distributed despite the wreckage that had been caused. Amidst the pile of debris, search and rescue teams were found pulling dead bodies from under the rubble. The ceasefire, which was brokered by Egypt, was supported by the international community too. “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet and relentless diplomacy towards that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress, and I’m committed to working for it,” US President Joe Biden said in an address.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres too welcomed the ceasefire in a statement. “I commend Egypt and Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close coordination with the UN, to help restore calm to Gaza and Israel,” he said. Guterres also stressed the importance of the international community’s role in restoring the damage caused in Palestine.