With the cafes open again and the fishermen preparing to set sail, Gaza appeared to return to normal on Saturday as emergency aid is organized and negotiations begin on the reconstruction of the Palestinian enclave after 11 days of conflict with Israel.
Rescue teams are still searching the rubble for survivors after removing five bodies and a dozen survivors from underground tunnels bombed by the Israeli army on Friday.
Hostilities between the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Israel, which has imposed a blockade on this small territory since 2007, forced the fishermen to stay home for almost two weeks.
On Saturday morning, Rami Abu Amira received a call from the Palestinian coastguard to tell him that he could return to the sea. But, proof of the fragility of the truce in force since Friday, no confirmation came from the Israeli side.
“We are going to the sea anyway, but not very far. We, the fishermen, are afraid that the Israeli ‘navy’ will shoot us. But we have to eat,” he told AFP while preparing his nets in the small port of Gaza.
“Everything is lost”
On Friday night, families also flocked to coastal cafes to smoke shisha.
In shops in Gaza’s Al Rimal district, at the foot of a 10-story building destroyed in an Israeli attack, plastic mannequins dressed in 2021 collections were covered in a thick layer of dust.
“This is dust from Israeli bombs, which has embedded in clothing. We will not be able to sell this merchandise, ”said Bilal Mansur, a 29-year-old vendor.
“Our stocks were full because we were preparing for Aíd, the end of Ramadan, when sales are good. But now all is lost, ”added Waël Amin Al, owner of a neighboring shop full of glass shards.
“You may have lost the equivalent of $ 250,000 in assets. Who will pay for all this? Who? ”He wonders.
The escalation of violence between the Israeli army and Hamas left 248 Palestinians dead, including 66 children and fighters, according to the Gaza authorities.
In Israel, rocket fire from Gaza killed 12 people, including a child, a teenager and a soldier, according to police.
Right after the truce went into effect at 02:00 am on Friday, both sides claimed victory.
The head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, celebrated a “strategic victory” against Israel and said that he had “dealt a severe and painful blow that will leave deep marks” on his opponent.
“We have achieved the objectives, it is an extraordinary success,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commenting on the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian territory, where some two million Palestinians live.
“More than 200 terrorists, including 25 high-ranking officers, were killed,” he said.
However, the ceasefire announced Thursday night by both sides did not set a deadline for the end of the fighting and as such remains fragile.
“Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that” our enemies do not have any certificate of immunity “, while a spokesman for the Palestinian armed factions in Gaza stated:” Our message to the enemy is clear: if you return, we will return too.”
Two Egyptian delegations came to Israel and the Palestinian territories “to monitor” the implementation of the ceasefire, according to Egyptian state media.
As several convoys of emergency humanitarian aid entered Gaza on Friday, the Egyptian foreign minister said he had received a call from his Israeli counterpart to discuss necessary measures to facilitate reconstruction in Gaza.
For his part, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, said on Friday that he wants to provide “important” financial aid with the help of the international community to “rebuild Gaza”, but without giving to Hamas- considered a terrorist by the United States- “the opportunity to rebuild its weapons system.”
He also reiterated the two-state solution, an independent Palestine alongside Israel, calling it “the only possible answer,” while US chief diplomat Antony Blinken is expected to arrive in the Middle East “in the next few days.”
The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, suspended since 2014, face many obstacles, such as the status of East Jerusalem and the Israeli colonization of the Palestinian territories.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.