As Israel and Hamas separately celebrate the ceasefire and their “victory” over the other following Israel’s blistering eight-day military assault on the Gaza strip, civilians continue to pay the price.
As the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas seems to be holding, many are hoping that one of the agreement’s main points – the easing of restrictions on people and goods coming in and out of the Gaza Strip – signals a new era for the besieged Palestinian territory.
The reaction of post-revolution Egypt to Israel's weeklong onslaught on the next-door Gaza Strip – brought to a halt temporarily at least by a Wednesday night ceasefire – has contrasted sharply with the former regime's callous approach to the besieged coastal enclave.
The ceasefire has brought extremities in Gaza. In the morning the coastal territory woke up bashed and bloody from one of Israel’s most intensive nights of bombardment since a week’s tit for tat violence broke out between Hamas and Israel. By late morning the coastal strip was ghostly quiet, gripped with fear as people stayed indoors awaiting the inevitable retaliation from Israel for a bus bombing carried out in Tel Aviv by Palestinian extremists. But as night fell thousands of Gazans took to the streets in joyful celebration in what they see as victory over Israel.
As people anxiously wait to see if the newly-signed ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas will hold, local and international human rights groups are calling for investigations into Israeli human rights abuses committed during its eight-day assault on the Gaza Strip, including flagrant attacks on journalists.