Friday, August 14, 2020

Five-hour humanitarian ceasefire does not lead to long-lasting truce

By Lynda Franken - July 17, 2014
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Gaza Blockade] [Gaza] [Operation Protective Edge]

Gazans look at recent wreckage | Islamic News Daily 



A five-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip ended at 3PM today with rocket sirens at Askhelon, Southern Israel. Reportedly, both parties infringed the ceasefire once. Three mortar bombs landed in open areas in Israel while there were reports of Israeli tank fire in Rafah. An alleged renewal of the ceasefire appeared eminent with an Israeli official saying: “There is an agreement for a ceasefire beginning tomorrow. I believe it is 6AM”. However, there has been no confirmation from Israeli or Hamas officials yet. 


A Hamas official did state that progress was made but a ceasefire was not yet reached. In addition, a member of the Israeli security cabinet told the Israeli newspaper that no approval had been issued in regard to a ceasefire, without stating whether an agreement had been reached or not. Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman denied the reports, stating that they are “far from representing reality. I spoke with the prime minister, and as of now they are incorrect.”


Thursday’s five-hour humanitarian ceasefire came only days after the rejection of an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire which Hamas claims it was not informed upon. The UN-brokered ceasefire on Thursday came after negotiations in Cairo between an Israeli delegation and representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. 


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was to meet different Hamas officials today to discuss ceasefire terms. It is expected that the conditions will include an ease of the Israeli blockade on Gaza and the permanent opening of the Rafah crossing on the Egypt border. Hamas officials are also expected  to demand the release of members that were rearrested in the West Bank during 'Operation Brother’s Keeper’, that had been released by Israel in the Shalit deal.


Humanitarian aid is much needed in Gaza. Hospitals are running out of medical supplies and water shortages are near. Wells and water pipelines are damaged by the bombardments and about 90 percent of the water available is unsuited for drinking or cooking. “The question is not if but when an already beleaguered population will face an acute water crisis” said Jacques de Maio of the Red Cross, in reference to what will happen if hostilities continue. 


During the five hour truce, Gazans rushed to buy supplies and inspect their homes. Long queues were formed at banks, which opened today for the first time in ten days.


Before the ceasefire started at 10AM, the Israeli military killed three people in Rafah while wounding another four. Hamas members tried to cross into Israel through a tunnel, but the attack was thwarted by the Israeli forces. Al Jazeera reported that eight were killed and an additional five escaped, while Hamas claimed on Gazan Radio to have killed and wounded Israelis during the attack. Both claims were unconfirmed by Israeli sources.


As the evening of the tenth day of Operation Protective Edge is approaching, the death toll in Gaza is over 230 with more than 1700 injured. There has been one casualty on the Israeli side. 


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