After the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect at 2 a.m. local time on Friday morning, the Palestinians celebrated in the streets of Gaza City and Hamas declared victory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office boasted “significant achievements” in his 11-day battle against Hamas, “some of which are unprecedented”. These claims to profit have been tempered by severe losses to life, property and infrastructure.
At least 230 Palestinians were killed in 11 days in Israeli air strikes, including 65 children and 39 women, and 1,710 others were injured, reports The Associated Press, citing the Gaza Strip Ministry of Health. Twelve people were killed in Israel, including two children, when Hamas, committed to the destruction of Israel, tried to get more than 4,000 missiles past its Iron Dome missile defense system.
“Like the three previous wars between the bitter enemies, the last round of fighting ended inconclusive,” reports AP. “Israel claimed to have inflicted serious damage on Hamas, but was again unable to stop the Islamic group’s uninterrupted rocket locks,” and almost immediately, “Netanyahu faced furious allegations from his hard-right base that he had also halted the operation soon.” And Hamas, despite its ridicule at Israel’s loss of the fight, suffered significant losses and “is now faced with the daunting challenge of rebuilding an area already suffering from poverty, widespread unemployment and a raging coronavirus outbreak,” said AP .
Israeli air strikes damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and destroyed one health facility, according to the World Health Organization. Save the Children reports that Israeli bombs damaged more than 50 schools and disrupted the education of 42,000 students. Around 58,000 Palestinians fled their homes during the conflict, and Gaza, which has been limping after 14 years of being blocked by Egypt and Israel, is running out of water, electricity and medicine.
It could be worse. More than 2,200 Palestinians and 70 Israelis were killed in 50 days of fighting in 2014, while at least 160 Palestinians and six Israelis died in an eight-day fight in 2012, Politico reports. Lessons from these two battles, the Biden government decided that a calm and mostly behind the scenes effort to help Egypt broker a ceasefire would be the most effective way to keep the fighting short, closer to 2012 than 2014. “Nobody expects the ceasefire forever,” says Politico, “but it’s a start.” Peter Weber