Israel And Hamas Have Agreed to a Cease-fire in Gaza Conflict

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza conflict
Palestinians wave national flags in front of the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa mosque complex in J...

Thousands of Palestinians celebrated Friday after a cease-fire was declared in the latest Gaza conflict. Many see it as a victory for the Islamic militant group Hamas. Israel has promised to respond to a “new level of force” to further hostilities.

The 11-day war killed over 250 people, the large majority of whom were Palestinians, and caused destruction in the already devastated Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. However, many Palestinians saw the rocket attacks on Israel as a courageous reaction to Israeli oppression in Jerusalem.

Even as it declares victory, Hamas faces the challenging task of reconstruction in a region still troubled by high unemployment, a coronavirus pandemic, and years of blockade by Egypt and Israel.

The war brought to the surface profound dissatisfaction among Palestinians over the status quo, with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process essentially abandoned for years.

Clashes erupted between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police during Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex – a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem sacred to Jews and Muslims. Confrontations there earlier this month were one of the key causes of the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced backlash from his hawkish base for ending the battle soon without giving a heavier blow to Hamas.

Israel had done “daring and new things, and this without being dragged into unnecessary adventures,” he said. Its forces caused “maximum damage to Hamas with a minimum of casualties in Israel,” he added.

Netanyahu also warned against further attacks: “If Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong.” He promised to respond with “a new level of force” against aggression anywhere in Israel.

He said that Israeli airstrikes killed over 200 militants, including 25 commanders, and destroyed more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) of militant tunnels. According to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group, just 20 fighters were killed.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza conflict
Palestinians pray by the bodies of members of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, who died in the Israeli bombardment of a tunnel, during their funeral in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, May 21, 2021. Photo by Yousef Masoud/AP.

In a televised address from the Qatari capital of Doha, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that the war had “opened the door to new phases that will witness many victories.” He called it a “quantum leap” that would increase Palestinian support for “resistance” rather than unsuccessful negotiations.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 1,910 people were injured and at least 243 Palestinians, fighters and civilians, were killed, including 66 children. In Israel, twelve people were killed, all but one of whom were civilians, including a 16-year-old girl, and a 5-year-old boy.

At 2 a.m., as the cease-fire took effect, celebrations erupted in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Thousands of people took to the streets, young men waved Palestinian and Hamas flags, honked horns, and set off fireworks.

Hundreds of people organized similar celebrations at noon prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.  What caused the resulting violence, in which police used stun grenades and tear gas and Palestinians hurled bricks, remained unknown. According to Israeli police, 16 individuals were arrested. Similar scuffles broke out in parts of the West Bank.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza conflict
Palestinians run from sound grenades thrown by Israeli police in front of the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem, Friday, May 21, 202, as a cease-fire took effect between Hamas and Israel after an 11-day war. Photo by Mahmoud Illean/AP.

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A Gaza City open-air market reopened after being closed due to conflict. Workers cleaned away the debris.

“Life will return, because this is not the first war, and it will not be the last war,” said shop owner Ashraf Abu Mohammad. “The heart is in pain, there have been disasters, families wiped from the civil registry, and this saddens us. But this is our fate in this land, to remain patient.”

Residents of Beit Hanoun, a hard-hit town, surveyed ruined houses.

“We see such huge destruction here, it’s the first time in history we’ve seen this,” said Azhar Nsair. “The cease-fire is for people who didn’t suffer, who didn’t lose their loved ones, whose homes were not bombed.”

Rescue teams were still searching for bodies. Five were found Friday in the town of Khan Younis, including that of a three-year-old boy, the Red Crescent emergency service said.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza conflict
People walk by the rubble of the al-Jalaa building following a cease-fire reached after an 11-day war between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel, in Gaza City, May 21, 2021. Photo by John Minchillo/AP.

Tens of thousands of people returned home after taking shelter in United Nations schools. About 66,000 people were crammed inside, according to U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.

The bombardment damaged the already deteriorating infrastructure of the small coastal region, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians. It destroyed high-rises, roads, houses and ruined water resources. At least 30 health facilities were severely damaged, putting a pause to coronavirus testing in the region.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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