Palestinians, Israelis resume normal life after Gaza ceasefire
Palestinians and Israelis have resumed normal life following the Gaza ceasefire. Life on both sides of the Gaza Strip border began returning to normal on Sunday after an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire halted five days of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad, which killed 34 Palestinians and an Israeli.
Israel reopened its goods and commercial border crossings, allowing fuel to flow to the lone power plant in the blockaded coastal enclave. Shops and public offices reopened and crowds returned to streets that had been deserted for days.
Leaders from both sides of the conflict confirmed their commitment to the truce, but gave different interpretations of the terms, such as whether Israel would end targeted killings of Palestinian militant leaders.
The latest fighting, the longest bout since a 10-day war in 2021, began when Israel launched a series of air strikes in the early hours of Tuesday, announcing that it was targeting Islamic Jihad commanders who had planned attacks against it.
In response, the Iranian-backed group fired more than 1,000 rockets, sending Israelis fleeing into bomb shelters. In areas of southern Israel around Gaza, schools were still closed on Sunday and many of the thousands of residents who had been evacuated had yet to return.
“It’s no simple matter to come back from such a situation,” Gadi Yarkoni, mayor for several Israeli towns on the Gaza border, told radio station 103 FM.
Palestinian health officials said 33 people, including women and children as well as Islamic Jihad fighters, were killed in Gaza. In Israel, an Israeli woman and a Palestinian laborer were killed by Gazan rockets.
Mohammad Al-Hindi, a senior Islamic Jihad official who co-negotiated a ceasefire in Cairo with Egyptian officials, said in a statement on Sunday that the group was prepared to halt its rocket launches in exchange for Israel’s agreement to stop targeting houses, civilians, and militant leaders.
“We are committed to the calm agreement as long as the enemy abided by it,” he said.