Scepticism has greeted the Israel/Hamas ceasefire among resident in the Israeli town of Sderot close to the Gaza Strip. Four people have been killed this year as a result of rockets fired from Gaza.
Some see the truce as a tactical gain for Hamas:
“The question should be what is at the heart of the ceasefire? It means that Hamas has reorganised. Hamas has scored a victory in the eyes of its voters. It will provide them with food and clothing.”
For the one and a half million residents of the Gaza Strip, the lifting of the Israeli blockade is key if they are to return to some kind of normal existence after a year of hardship. Gaza’s fishermen have put out to sea again, for some the ceasefire came at just the right time:
“We want to live like other nations, in peace and security. We do not want war. We want to live and work in peace. Our boats have been kept ashore for more than two-and-half years.”
Fishing is not the only industry to suffer restrictions the blockade has paralysed nearly all economic activity. Businesses have gone bust and entrepreneurs have simply fled.
In the sectors of agriculture, textiles, construction and building, the Strip has lost some 193.5 million euros. Unemployment is running at 29 percent, 39 percent in Khan Younis. Farmers close to the border crossing of Karni are desperate to get back to their fertile land. For the past few months they have been unable to work the land due to Israeli attacks against suspected militants, as well as having export routes closed.