Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Thursday, 21 May, announced a ceasefire after an unsparing 11-day military operation in Palestine’s Gaza Strip, which has taken 232 Palestinian lives, including 65 children, as per the data provided by Gaza’s health ministry.
Whilst giving a speech in front of thousands of Gazans, a senior official from Hamas, the armed body involved in the offensive, claimed victory in the conflict on Friday.
Khalil al-Hayya said, "This is the euphoria of victory.”
The Egyptian-mediated proposal was unilaterally approved on Thursday evening, and reportedly went into effect at 2 am, a few hours after the cabinet decision.
The official statement from Israel, which came following United States pressure to suspend the attacks, said, “The political leaders emphasised that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign.”
US President Joe Biden expressed his support of the deal saying, "I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I'm committed to working toward it," AFP reported.
However, like the previous three Gaza wars, this one came to an inconclusive end too. Speaking on the issue, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that leaders of both the regions have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to address the root causes of the conflict, Reuters reported.
Celebrations Spark in Gaza
In the background of the ceasefire coming into effect, scores of people in Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories came out on the streets to celebrate the truce, waving flags and flashing ‘V’ signs for victory as the sky lit up with fireworks.
The loud speakers of mosques blared chants of "the victory of the resistance achieved over the Occupation (Israel)," Reuters reported.
Events So Far
Palestinian armed groups, including the Hamas have fired around 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities, most of which were intercepted by the sophisticated Israeli army. Palestine does not have an organised army or a navy.
At least 12 people in Israel have died in the attacks, while 232 Palestinians have been killed and 58,000 Palestinians have had to flee from their homes.
The fighting broke out after Palestinian protestors were brutalised by Israeli Police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – a flashpoint site sacred to Muslims and Jews. The hostility was also flamed by threatened evictions of Palestinian families in face of Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah region.
Gaza's infrastructure, which is already in tatters after the imposition of Israeli blockades since 2007, has deteriorated further in the last several days. Amid a pandemic, there is a paucity of medical supplies, essential drugs, water and fuel for electricity.
Bombings have damaged over 50 and demolished at least 6 schools across the Gaza strip, advocacy group Save the Children reports. This will impact nearly 42,000 children in the region.
At least 18 hospitals, clinics, and one health facility have been damaged, the World Health Organization said.