News / Middle East

Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Stripi
X
Scott Bobb
August 27, 2014 4:51 PM
Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Scott Bobb

As an open-ended cease-fire took effect beginning Tuesday night, ending seven weeks of hostilities, Palestinians celebrated in the streets of Gaza while Israelis showed more reserve.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri hailed the truce, negotiated by Egypt, as a victory for the Palestinian cause.

"We are here today to declare that we have won over this destructive Israeli power," Abu Zuhri said. "We won, first and foremost thanks to God almighty, and, second, thanks to the resilience of our people."

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The 50-day conflict was the longest ever between Israel and Hamas. The Gaza fighting killed at least 2,137 Palestinians, many of them civilians, as well as 69 Israelis. All but five of them were soldiers.  

Skepticism remains

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev blamed the high death toll on Hamas, the group that controls Gaza.

"We hope that this time the cease-fire will stick,” Regev said, referring to several previous cease-fire agreements that collapsed within days. “And I think now that, as the dust will begin to clear, many people will be asking, why is it that today Hamas accepted the very same Egyptian framework that it rejected a month ago?"

Some Israelis welcomed the end of hostilities, but those in communities hit hard by Hamas rockets remained wary.

 "I really want to trust the cease-fire, but unfortunately we've been burned before several times," said Dafna Siboni Sasson, who lives in Kibbutz Nir Am in the country’s south. "Several times we returned here and thought [the conflict] was over and all of a sudden it happened again and fire was renewed. So we wait. Time will tell."

Bigger negotiating points

Israel wants Gaza to be demilitarized. Any cease-fire should prevent Hamas from rebuilding its network of rockets and infiltration tunnels, said Yoram Schweitzer, an analyst at Tel Aviv’s Institute for National Security Studies.

Hamas "should be kept … from using this reconstruction, rehabilitation, for replenishing its rocket arsenal and for rebuilding those tunnels again," said Schweitzer, an Israeli.

Hamas wants an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza. This needs to be addressed, said Mukhaimar Abu Saada, a political science professor at Gaza’s al-Azhar University.

"If this siege is not going to be lifted completely, we are definitely going to witness another round between Hamas and Israel in the future," said the professor, a Palestinian.

Analysts noted that similar demands had not been met during previous cease-fires. As a result, they said any durable peace would depend primarily on a political agreement.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (5)
Comments
     
by: John
August 29, 2014 1:51 AM
There can be no lasting peace without justice. I know this is often mindlessly repeated as a slogan, but it is the essential issue here. If the hawks in Israel continue to insist on the blockage, then the fighting will just start again as soon as the Palestinians re-arm. But if there is a genuine reconciliation, then and only then can there be a lasting peace.


by: Anthonybellchambers from: London
August 28, 2014 3:27 AM
Netanyahu proudly claims 'victory' for his butchery of civilians in Gaza

2,101 killed in Gaza - UN estimates 70% of deaths are civilians
7 civilians killed in Israel
64 Israeli soldiers killed
Figures as of 26 Aug. Sources: PMH, OCHA, IDF

UN states that more than 17,000 buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or severely damaged, and that there are at least 475,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), more than a quarter of the territory's population.

When will those responsible be brought before the ICC on charges of war crimes?

In Response

by: Jim Young from: Indian Valley
August 28, 2014 2:10 PM
The radical Islamist's will use this pause to rearm (probably by Iran) and then resume their goal of the destruction of Israel. I lived, taught and worked for years in the middle East, I met Many wonderful people, and some whose mindset was the total destruction of all Jew's.

A question to ponder is, If they destroy Israel, who then will become the focus their hate of anyone who is different. What a waste of life and assets for no tangible results.


by: maithe from: Paris, France
August 27, 2014 5:23 PM
Another cease fire or the end of the war ??....The Egyptian Agreement" solve nothing . No clear resolution.
But in one month Hamas, P.A., Israel and others go back to Cairo to discuss the real crucial problems : demilitarization of Gaza , blocus, a seaport, an airport... In one month or so we see if it was a serious cease fire or just another and longer break...

In Response

by: Manuel Montalvo from: Oviedo, fl.
August 28, 2014 9:43 PM
There will not be any peace until the inequities cease: The occupation and the crimes, abuses and subjugation of the Palestinian people by the Zionist expansionist Israel.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid