The Gaza Strip experienced another sleepless night on Friday, but this time it wasn’t because of the heavy Israeli bombing that the encircled coastal territory has undergone over the past 11 days.
Tens of thousands, however, poured into the streets, celebrating the cease-fire agreed by Israeli and Palestinian armed groups, praising support for the resistance.
Mosques echoed Eid al-Fitr prayers a week after the holiday and sweets were passed on at a celebration postponed by death and devastation. People also took the opportunity to visit the victims with their relatives.
Ceasefire celebrations are expected in many towns within the occupied West Bank and Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, with many praising armed groups and the resilience of Palestinians in Gaza.
According to the Gaza health ministry, 243 Palestinians were killed in the latest Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 39 women. At least 1,910 more were injured. More than 90,000 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, and most of Gaza’s infrastructure and many civilian buildings have been damaged or completely destroyed.
On the Israeli side, 12 people were killed, including three foreign workers.
The ceasefire, capped by the Egyptian mediator, saw a “consistent and unconditional” ceasefire between the Israeli army and Palestinian armed groups that began at 2 a.m. on Friday (23 : 00 GMT on Thursday).
No official terms were given, and Israel’s security cabinet said it voted unanimously in favor of an “equal and unconditional” ceasefire in Gaza.
However, Hamas spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanou told Al Jazeera that the armed groups had imposed their own conditions.
He said they included an end to the forced eviction of Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and the attack by Israeli security forces on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Israel has left in the face of armed resistance, and has not taken any of the intentions they say it has in launching this offensive,” al-Qanou said.
So far the ceasefire has continued, even as Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, also firing bullets with iron rubber and grenade sounds.
“Israel is now being tested, and resistance groups in Gaza are watching how it reacts,” al-Qanou said.
“This ceasefire is just a halt, an opportunity to gain more strength to deal with any further Israeli aggression.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the offensive addressed Hamas was an “unimaginable blow”, saying it “changed the equation” and put Hamas back on for years.
Netanyahu said the Israeli military had destroyed Hamas’ tunnel network in Gaza, as well as several rocket factories and shops, and he claimed that more than 200 Palestinian fighters had been killed – including 25 elderly frame.
However, many Israeli politicians have dismissed the ceasefire as a disgraceful capital of Hamas.
New Hope party leader Gideon Sa’ar called the ceasefire “disgraceful,” and lamented that even “with the most intelligence and air force in the world, Netanyahu got out of Hamas is an ‘unconditional ceasefire’. ”
Itamar Ben Gvir, a right-wing member of the Knesset, said, “the embarrassing ceasefire is a serious surrender to fear and to the imposition of Hamas”.
Avigdor Lieberman, who resigned from his position as defense minister in 2018 after Israel agreed to a deal mediated by Egypt after two days of fierce fighting in Gaza, called the arms war is “another failure on Netanyahu”.
‘There is no such thing as Palestinian support’
Adnan Abu Amer, a Gaza-based Palestinian political analyst, says the general consensus among Palestinians is that Hamas has won this series of fights, both militarily and politically.
“Despite the offensive run for 11 days and somewhat causing material damage on the Israeli side, even Hamas has dealt a heavy blow to Israel’s image around the world – this time even more so in the last war in 2014, “he told Al Jazeera.
“This is due to the fact that the growth did not come from the Gaza Strip and the blockade, but rather from a collective issue – supported by Islamic, Arab, and most of the international community – that is crucial to the Palestinian cause, that of Jerusalem.”
Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza fired thousands of rockets at Israel in 11 days. Long-range missiles fired by armed groups in Gaza caused the closure of two major airports.
Meanwhile, Abu Amer said the rhetoric used by the Palestinian Authority – such as pursuing a two -state solution – was largely accepted regardless of what was happening on the Palestinian road.
“[This rhetoric] damaged any increase in Palestinian support for Hamas after each offensive, ”Abu Amer said.
“This time, we see unprecedented Palestinian support [for the resistance] across the country, it has been confirmed that Israel’s policies in Gaza are also an addition to the policies of Jerusalem, the West Bank and against Palestinians living within the 1948 territories, ”he said.
“Before the Palestinians in these territories came out with candles growing the candle of solidarity in Gaza, but at this hour, they represent a clear part of the resistance to Israel,” Abu Amer said.
A general strike was staged by hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on Monday in all territories. In the occupied West Bank, at least 28 Palestinians have been killed in protests that lasted several days against the Israeli army, the health ministry said, with thousands more injured.
For now, it is clear that Hamas and Israel want a ceasefire, no matter how shocking, Abu Amer’s conclusion. The Gaza Strip needs a respite following Israel’s severe recovery.
For Palestinians in Gaza, the ceasefire is just a respite, and represents the hope that the ongoing struggle of daily life that suffers as a result of the obstructing coastal blockade will end, in sooner or later.
“Like any activity that exposes the crimes of Zionism and challenges the European-backed account, world unity is sweet, but the more important victory in my opinion is that it reduces the likelihood that Israel will sit on our chest for a long time, ”Mahmoud Qudaih, a Palestinian social media user from Khan Younes SAYS.
“We bury our martyrs and we breathe a sigh of relief, because the war of liberation goes on and does not stop.”