The 72 hour ceasefire in Gaza which came to effect on Tuesday had brought relief and hope to millions around the world.
Israel withdrew forces from the Gaza strip after a month long fighting, at least for a time being, giving the Palestinians a space to breathe. Even minutes before the truce, Israel as well as Hamas had fired rockets against each other. When withdrawing the forces, the Israeli military had tweeted “Mission accomplished”. But had Israel really accomplished their mission?
Israel has agreed to extend the 72-hour break in fighting unconditionally. But Hamas has insisted that they would continue their battle until the demands are met. Opening the border crossings to allow the wounded Gazans, especially those in serious condition, to be transferred to hospitals outside of the Strip, is one of the demands. Doctors in Gaza are reporting severe overcrowding and equipment shortages. Over the past few days, hospitals in Jordan, Germany and Egypt have expressed willingness to accept patients from Gaza. Smooth functioning of the airport, seaport, easy access to West Bank and freeing of prisoners in Israel are the demands yet to be met. Egypt, as the mediator, is trying to make efforts to reach an agreement that would focus on an unconditional truce and on humanitarian issues. Egypt has brokered Israel-Palestine peace talks earlier. It has condemned the Israeli attacks, called for a ceasefire and allowed a few critically injured Gazans to be treated in Egyptian hospitals. But Egypt’s actions over the past year, especially in recent days, have led to accusations that the country is siding Israel and showing indifference to Gazan killings. The Representatives of the United States and the United Nations are also in Cairo to monitor the talks.
Hamas has announced that it would remain on high alert and would continue fighting if their demands are not met. The conflict in its 31st day has caused the death and casualties of thousands of civilians, displacement of almost half a million and obliteration of whole districts of apartments in the region. The U.N. estimates say that more than 400,000 people were driven from their homes during the war with many of them having no home to return. Hamas has strongly opposed and bravely stood against Israeli attacks countering their brutalities. All these factors reiterate the fact that war, sophisticated weapons and latest technology can neither impede the growth of a nation nor break the resilience of its people. But when the ceasefire expires today, terror again fills the minds of the Palestinians.