Relations in the Middle-East stand on the brink of a public breakthrough, but behind the scenes there is little confidence that peace is imminent. Tomorrow, a ceasefire betwen Israel and Hamas is set to begin. Both sides have pledged to halt all hostilities for at least six months.
Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, insists the truce has a chance: “We believe that what was agreed upon will last, and the Palestinian people will see the fruits of their endurance: the blockade will be lifted, the crossings will be totally opened and normal life will return to the Gaza Strip.”
But Israel says it is still preparing for a military assault on the Gaza Strip, just in case.
“We want a truce, to live in peace and dignity in a stable situation,” said one Gazan resident, “but on the Israeli side there is no truce.”
Across the border, in the Israeli town of Sderot, there is hope but resignation too.
“People mustn’t forget that we are being hit by rockets everyday. Those aiming for a ceasefire shouldn’t be firing rockets daily to remind us they are still there,” said one Sderot householder.
Life in the Gaza Strip is a daily struggle. Israel has deliberately restricted fuel deliveries and the availability of other necessities. It’s stated aim was to stop cross-border attacks. Even with the ceasefire in place Israel says it will keep its plans on opening up the checkpoints into Gaza vague until other demands are met.
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