Hamas Take Advantage of Ceasefire

EVENING UPDATE

Among many points of view expressed today, as well as rioting on the Temple Mount and in the Sheik Jarrah district of East Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu made a short statement in which he thanked President Biden and many leaders around the world for standing by Israel. He said:

“They know how to distinguish so clearly between a democracy that cherishes life
and a terrorist organization that glorifies death.”

 

 

MORNING REPORT

The ceasefire seems to be holding on Friday morning, so the IDF have removed almost all the restrictions on movement around Israel, including communities close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

However, schools and colleges will remain closed in southern and central Israel. The IDF also asked people to be careful around rocket fragments in open areas.

Israeli students sit exam in bomb shelterIsraeli students sit exam in bomb shelter (photo: Gil Cohen-Magen / AFP)

Transfer of supplies into the Gaza Strip have resumed with the reopening of the Kerem Shalom crossing – a swift move encouraged by pressure from the international community to allow the passage of humanitarian aid.

But some residents of Israel’s southern region are very critical of the government over its ceasefire with Hamas. They think the military operation against Hamas in Gaza should have continued. One resident said:

“We feel like we’ve gone through it all for nothing.
We had achievements thanks to the army, but there is no strategy.
What kind of ceasefire is this?”

The mayors of cities like Sderot and Ashkelon are among those unhappy with the ceasefire because they are convinced the rocket barrages will start again soon. One of them said, “It seems like nobody wants to defeat Hamas,” and the other said,

“We would have wanted Hamas to be eliminated but we know that won’t happen.”

Those feelings will have been exacerbated by Hamas’ declaration of victory, including claims that part of the ceasefire agreement is for Israel to end ‘violations’ in Jerusalem and address damages from the bombardment of Gaza.

Palestinians celebrate ceasefirePalestinians celebrate ceasefire (screenshot from Twitter)

Israel’s leaders deny that there were any such conditions to the ceasefire agreement. So this seems to be another propaganda exercise by Hamas, intended to make it easy for them to put the Israeli government under pressure with accusations of breaking the ceasefire agreement.

There are already reports of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, with videos showing tear gas explosions and sound grenades going off.

Yet there are others who are optimistic. One resident of Ashkelon said that he and his family of four children went outside their home today for the first time since the conflict started. They were too scared to go outside even to throw out the rubbish but hope they can now return to normal life.