News / Middle East

Gaza Residents Relieved on Day One of Cease-Fire

Scott Bobb
Residents of the Gaza Strip enjoyed their first peaceful night in a week after Israel and Palestinian militants agreed to a cease-fire.

Cars were on the once-deserted streets. Mechanic Abdelkarim Adibediah opened his motor repair shop in the Beach refugee camp for the first time in eight days. He looked up from a motorcycle he was repairing to say he was relieved over the deal.

"The cease-fire was in our interest," he said. "We have to get out and work to feed our children. But, it will take a long time for us to recover."

More than 150 Palestinians and five Israelis died in the eight-day conflict. Hundreds more were wounded.

The conflict choked daily life on both sides as schools, offices and shops were closed and people were told to stay indoors for their safety.

At the small fishing port a few kilometers away, Mifleh Abu Riallah, 34, was unloading a catch of small, sardine-sized fish. He was able to put out to sea for the first time, though the catch was small. He said the Israeli navy still does not allow Gaza's fishermen to go beyond 2.5 nautical miles, or six kilometers, out to sea.

He said 2.5 miles is for swimming, not for fishing. "This close to shore you can't catch big fish," Riallah added. He hopes the fishing range will be extended to 20 kilometers as it used to be under the ceasefire accord.

Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power five years ago. The blockade crippled Gaza's economy and decimated its fishing industry. Two-thirds of the fishermen have quit.

The Israeli-Palestinian Cease-fire Deal

  • Israeli and Palestinian militants agree to end all hostilities.
  • For Israel that includes attacks by land, sea, and air, and operations targeting individuals.
  • For Palestinian factions in Gaza that includes rocket and border attacks.
  • After 24 hours, crossings into Gaza are to be opened and the movement of people and goods is to be allowed.

Under the ceasefire agreement, Israel and Hamas are to negotiate an end to the blockade. Gazans hope this will end all fishing restrictions and reopen closed land border crossings.

The blockade has also hurt agriculture. Gaza's farmers are prevented from working land within two kilometers of the border. This has effectively closed more than one-fourth of the territory's arable land to farming.

Vegetable vendor Mahmoud al-Komi imports all his produce from Israel. If the blockade is lifted he would be able to bring produce from Egypt.

He said it would make things cheaper. "Right now not everybody can afford these goods. If the blockade is lifted everybody will be able to buy these things," al-Komi noted.

Israel says the blockade is meant to protect Israelis near the border from attacks and prevent arms smuggling. Palestinians say it is meant to punish Hamas, which does not recognize Israel and has called for its destruction.

Waleed Shabeir, a professor of sociology at the Islamic University of Gaza, said it will take a long time for the people of Gaza to recover not just economically, but psychologically as well.

They have to see a change out of the destruction and the killing. They have to see rebuilding because everything is changed from what it was during the conflict.

Most Gazans want a return to normalcy, meaning a normal life like other people's. That will require further, perhaps more difficult steps by Israel and Hamas to end Gaza's economic and political isolation.

  • Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh waves to people as they celebrate what they say is a victory over Israel after an eight-day conflict, Gaza City, November 22, 2012.
  • Hamas militants carry the bodies of their comrades, who medics said were killed in Israeli air strikes on Wednesday, during their funeral in the central Gaza Strip, November 22, 2012.
  • Hassidic Jewish men from the Breslov sect dance near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai outside the northern Gaza Strip, November 22, 2012.
  • Israeli soldiers, atop a tank, prepare to leave their Gaza border position at sun rise, November 22, 2012.
  • Israeli soldiers rest at a staging area outside the northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 21, 2012.
  • After eight days of conflict Palestinian gunmen hold aloft an image of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jaabari, who was killed by an Israeli air strike, Gaza City, Nov. 21, 2012.
  • Palestinians celebrate the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Gaza City, Nov. 21, 2012.
  • After eight days of conflict, Palestinians celebrate Israel-Hamas cease-fire, Gaza City, Nov. 21, 2012.

You May Like

Video Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: musawi melake from: -
November 22, 2012 4:57 PM
Everything is done for the sake of saving the Jewish state, and the article writer is extremely biased in selecting people for the interview and the words chosen on the whole. For instance it is said "Israel blockaded Gaza five years ago after Hams seized power", this is complete mud-sling at the genuine democratic choice of the people of Gaza. If the statement is anything go by, one can easily say that George W. Bush seized power from his opponent in 2000 and the same could be true for Mr. Obama. If Israel can blockade another country just for the sake of it's own security, then it should be the case for the Russians to do so against Georgia, what kind of logic is this?

by: David J. Allen from: Denver
November 22, 2012 1:21 PM
If one focus on the outcome to this conflict and unfolding of the ceasefire, the only side eager for the ceasefire were the Palestinians who celebrated it before even it was enforced….and who just came out first time for business and grocery after week long conflict were also Palestinians. They like peace as any other nation unless pushed to the middle ages which we see at the moment.

US position at the moment is just acquiesce to its arm twister (remember how bibi and party tried to influence our elections by their propaganda machine) unless there is any understanding form Israel to follow US leadership in resolving this conflict once and for all.

by: grassroot from: USA
November 22, 2012 1:11 PM
The Gazans' allowing Hamas to do the shooting that is.

by: grassroot from: USA
November 22, 2012 1:09 PM
So it's all about the Gazan's. If, they weren't lobbing rockets into
Israel all the last year, over 800 up to the point where Israel
had to retaliate, They would have had respite all year.
The enemies of Israel are hell bent on eradicating the Jewish
state, push them into the sea, and will not allow them the right
to live. These are indescriminate killers of any and all of the
Jews due to racial and ethnic hatred. They know exactly
what to do for " respite" from rockets. Stop initiating the

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs