Four days since violence broke out once more along the Gaza Strip between Israeli forces and Gaza militants. All the victims, except one, were Palestinian.
Last week, on Tuesday night, Israel launched a surprise airstrike attack and assassinated three of the top members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group.
Siren warnings of incoming fire began to ring out across many communities along the Gaza Strip – densely populated by Palestinian communities. This past week of fighting has been the most significant round of violence in months.
The five days of fighting have since destroyed more than 50 homes and displaced around 950 people. Mortality rates count 33 Palestinians killed, including ten civilians and two people in Israel.
Egyptian officials mediated the truce that finally came about following the past week of strikes and began on Saturday at 10 pm (local).
However, on Sunday, a rocket was fired at the south of Israel from Palestinian forces, apparently by mistake and due to a ‘technical error.’
On the same Sunday night, this was quickly followed by the Israel Defence Forces aiming artillery fire toward two military sites belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.
No injuries have been reported in either case, but relations remain tense and unresolved even after the ceasefire has been established.
Since then, on Sunday morning, the two crossings with Israel were reopened, and patients that needed medical care could access it across the strip for the first time in a week.
Life Resumes Again
Food and fuel started circulating again in the area, and fishers could return to working in the strip.
Slowly, public facilities are reopening throughout the weekend. However, on Monday morning, schools will reopen in the Gaza periphery, marking the complete ease of restrictions.
How Long Will It Last?
The fighting along the Gaza Strip has been harming the area’s residents for decades. Residents along the Strip have little freedom of movement, limited healthcare, and limited electricity. People continue to have their homes destroyed, keep having to rebuild them, and live at the whims of airstrikes.
Since 2007, there have been four wars and smaller strikes, consistently affecting the buildings and collapsing the infrastructure.
And yet, both forces have admitted they will not hesitate to send more airstrikes if the other party does not upkeep their part of the truce. This year alone has killed more than 130 Palestinians and at least 20 Israelis and foreigners.
How long will this truce last? With the upcoming Thursday being Jerusalem Day, many expect tensions to rise even higher as many Israeli religious nationalists plan to parade through the Gaza Strip’s Muslim parts. This is expected to be highly divisive and inflammatory.
To learn more about the complex history of the Israel and Palestine conflict, check out John Oliver’s explanation here.