After three weeks of constant bombardment the people of Gaza are picking up the pieces of their shattered lives.
The Isareli bombardment destroyed thousands of homes as well as schools, shops and other public buildings. Many bodies have been recovered from the rubble and dozens more have been uncovered today. There is no official figure for Palestinian dead. Figures vary from 1,300 up to 3,000. Eighteen Israelis have been killed in cross-border rocket attacks by Hamas in the last eight years. Israel was already blockading the Gaza Strip and food and essentials like medical supplies were scarce. Now Palestinians are hoping the ceasefire means the trickle of goods will increase. Despite everything, despite the suffering of the Palestinian people, despite the air and ground campaign, Hamas remains the de facto force within the coastal enclave. Isarel had already declared an unilateral truce in Gaza when Hamas said on Sunday it would join the ceasefire, but there was condition. Israeli forces must get out of Gaza. Hamas’s deputy chief in Syria, Moussa Abou Marzouk said: “We announce a ceasefire of our factions in the Gaza Strip and we stress that our demand is the withdrawal of the enemy forces from the Gaza Strip within a week, along with the opening of all the crossings for the entry of humanitarian aid, food and other essentials for the people of the Gaza Strip.” Within hours of the ceasfire Hamas fighters were still firing rockets in Israel which brought a swift response from Israel. Attacks have now subsided and Israeli troops have been seen leaving the sensitive border zone.