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

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

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 Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

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.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs