Fragile Gaza Truce after Israeli strike: 

‘Fragile’ truce holds in Gaza after three days of Israeli bombardment that killed at least 44 Palestinians. Israel and the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad have declared a truce, raising hopes of an end to three days of Israeli bombardment in Gaza that has killed at least 44 Palestinians, including 15 children. The truce began at 11:30 pm local time on Sunday (20:30 GMT) despite a flurry of Israeli air raids and Palestinian rocket attacks up until the last minute. While both sides had agreed to halt the fighting, each has warned the other that it would respond with force to any violence. The Fragile Gaza Truce has been signed after the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

“Local government offices have announced they will reopen their doors for the public, while universities have also announced they will reopen for students. The municipality of Gaza and other municipalities have also announced they will send their equipment to remove the rubble and try to do an initial assessment of the destruction.” Later on Monday, Gaza’s sole power plant restarted after fuel trucks passed from Israel into the Palestinian enclave. The facility had shut down on Saturday, days after Israel’s closure of the goods crossing.

Israel on Friday launched its heavy bombardment of Gaza, flattening buildings and striking refugee camps across the territory. The Israeli military said it has been targeting members of the Islamic Jihad, including the group’s senior commanders, but according to Palestinian officials, almost half of the 44 people who died have been civilians. At least 350 Palestinian civilians have also been wounded. Islamic Jihad responded by firing hundreds of rockets into Israel, but most were intercepted or blown up. Israeli emergency services said three people in Israel were wounded by shrapnel, while 31 others were lightly hurt.

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Gaza Truce:

Sunday’s truce was mediated by Egypt, with help from the United Nations and Qatar. The secretary general of Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhala, said one of the key agreements was an Egyptian guarantee that it would work towards the release of two of the group’s leaders who are being held by Israel. “The Islamic Jihad lays down its conditions. First, to unite all the Palestinians. Second, we demand that the enemy release our brother who has been on hunger strike, Khalil Awawda, and third, to release Sheikh Bassem al-Saadi,” al-Nakhala told reporters in the Iranian capital, Tehran. Fragile Gaza Truce after Israeli bombardment.

Release of Al-Saadi: 

Egypt issued a statement saying it is “exerting efforts to release” Awawda and “transfer him for treatment” and is working for the release of al-Saadi “as soon as possible”. There was no immediate comment from Israel. Al-Saadi’s arrest last week in the occupied West Bank was one of the key triggers of the latest escalation. Following his arrest, Israeli forces launched what they called “pre-emptive” raids on the Gaza Strip to prevent any retaliatory attacks. Islamic Jihad’s commanders, Taysir al-Jabari and Khaled Mansour were killed in attacks on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Israeli forces also arrested 19 more members of the Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank. Ghoneim said the Israelis have also created a divide between Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the larger group that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas has fought four wars with Israel since taking control of the enclave in 2007.

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In Gaza, news of the truce brought dozens of people to the streets in celebration. One resident, Nour Abu Sultan, told the AFP news agency earlier in the day that she was awaiting the declaration of the truce on “tenterhooks”. “We haven’t slept for days [due to] heat and shelling and rockets, the sound of aircraft hovering above us … is terrifying,” the 29-year-old said. The United States and the UN also welcomed the truce. Despite the halt to the fighting, Palestinians in Gaza said they cannot live normal lives because of Israel’s 15-year siege.

Approximately 2.3 million people are packed into the narrow coastal enclave, with Israel and Egypt tightly restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of the enclave and imposing a naval blockade, citing security concerns.

Israeli Strikes on Gaza are illegal: 

The United Nations special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories says Israel’s air raids on the besieged Gaza Strip “not only are illegal but irresponsible”, calling for a diplomatic solution to the latest bout of violence, which began on Friday when Israel launched air attacks on Gaza City. “The situation in Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis,” Francesca Albanez told Al Jazeera. Albanez blasted the United States for saying that it believed Israel had the right to defend itself. “Israel cannot claim that it’s defending itself in this conflict,” Albanez said. The US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, wrote on Twitter on Friday: “The United States firmly believes that Israel has a right to protect itself. We are engaging with different parties and urge all sides to calm.”

The special rapporteur, who is an independent expert responsible for monitoring human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories and referring them to the UN, called on the international body to ascertain whether international law had been breached in Gaza and ensure accountability.

Source: Al Jazeera 

As reported by the media team of the Youth Diplomacy Forum