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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs