“We are relieved that the war ended, the past 52 days were very harsh as we faced death every second, and we lost many people, houses destroyed including mine. The memories of my childhood and dreams are buried now under the rubble. But we say that we will rebuild what they destroyed God willing. Today I want to say despite all this, the resistance is an asset and a card that we should use in our struggle with our enemy.” — Nader Tamer, 35, father of four from Gaza city.
Fifty two days of an-all out aggression on besieged Gaza ended following an Egyptian mediated ceasefire deal on Tuesday.
“We are excited that finally a long term truce was reached after over 50 days of air raids, tank shelling and massacres. Let it be heard, we will never bow under Israeli occupation. Despite the loss of lives and destruction we still have high spirits and if Israel wages a 4th war on Gaza we will support the resistance,” said Um Asem, 55, a grandmother from Gaza city.
Despite over 2,100 lives lost in Gaza and the destruction of thousands of homes, thousands of Gaza residents took to the streets to celebrate the resistance’s “victory” over Israel.
Life slowly began returning to normal, as the truce still holding, people poured into the streets to inspect the damage and resume their daily lives. Some choose to go to the beach to have fresh air, away from the dusty streets where piles of rubble and debris lie.
The agreement, which went into force at 1600 GMT on Tuesday, saw the Israeli and Palestinian sides agree to a long-term ceasefire which Israel said would not be limited by time, in a move hailed by the United States, the United Nations and top world diplomats.
Palestinian resistance factions united under the command of Al-Qassam bridges, Hamas’ armed wing held a press conference and military parade, as a large crowds of people gathered in Shijaeyyah neighbourhood which was destroyed during the Israeli aggression.
“Resistance unified the people, and that is our big achievement, we will not return to divisions or disputes.” he added.
Throughout the entire assault, Palestinian fighters from different factions remained in their bunkers and hideouts confronting invading Israeli troops, taking up sniper positions, launching rockets, and fighting invisibly like ghosts in evacuated neighbourhoods. After repeated attempts, we got hold of Abu Huzayfah, a fighter from Al-Quds brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement. He was injured by an Israeli tank shell east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip. The severe injury he sustained led to the amputation of both of his legs.
“We fought during the Khuza’a battle on 17th July, that battle was one of the fiercest clashes as we were trying to confront invading Israeli soldiers,” said Abu Huzayfah, a single man, in his 30s, who joined Al-Quds brigades, several years ago.
“I managed to hit a tank with an anti-tank RPG missile, another tank fired shells towards my direction, I was injured with shrapnel. Luckily I was rescued by fighters from Al-Qassam brigades who were in the area and took to a safe area through an underground resistance tunnel and then to the hospital, but later I found out that my legs were amputated,” Abu Huzayfah said.
It is not yet known how many of the victims were combatants and to which factions they belong.
“This ceasefire is no act of generosity from Israel. Do not mistake it for such. This is a victory fought for through resistance, resilience, and strategic calculations. Israel were pushed into a position where to be accepted by their people, they had to accept Hamas’s conditions,” Nidal Salamah from Gaza City said as jubilation prevailed in Gaza.
A short time before the announcement of the long-term truce, Hamas announced that Israelis could return to their homes safely at 7 pm on Tuesday, Aug 26th, the time when the truce went into effect That in itself is joy for both sides.
Palestinian resistance was hailed by ordinary people as well as officials.
Some consider Israel’s failure to achieve its goals-namely an end to the rocket fire from Gaza- as a total fiasco, while others say there is much reason for sadness.
“Yes, there are over 11,000 injured people including 3,000 injured children, 1,000 of which now have permanent disabilities and over 2,135 martyrs but yet we say to the Israelis and the whole world that we have the right to resist and we are with the resistance,” said one resident.
Israel says that 64 of its soldiers were killed and more than 1,000 were injured throughout the course of the fighting. The fiercest confrontations took place near the border in northern and eastern areas of the Gaza Strip, including Beit Hanoun, eastern Shujaiyya, and areas east of Khan Younis and east of Rafah.
Abu Huzayfah said Palestinians are victorious, “I will continue the path of resistance as a field commander despite my disability now, I will be ready to take part in any resistance activity in case the enemy wages any new attack on our soil”.
The seven weeks of an all-out Israeli offensive on besieged Gaza has ended but the countdown until the next round of violence is already ticking.
“I was never a Hamas supporter, but today I say that I highly respect the resistance movements as they managed to resist until the last second. And we tell the Israelis that they will never succeed to break our will. We will teach the love of our country for our children who will continue the struggle to liberate Palestine. We will rebuild what was destroyed; we will defy our fears and fight for a better future,” said Asaad Mahmoud, a businessman of 40 in Gaza city.