Israel, Hamas Agree to Ceasefire After 11-Day Bloodbath: Reports
After a devastating 11 days of relentless airstrikes and rocket fire attacks that killed over 200 Palestinians and 12 Israelis, Hamas and Israel have reportedly agreed to a ceasefire.
On Thursday, a truce was reached between Israeli officials and Gaza’s ruling Hamas group, set to commence a day later, according to Reuters. The move comes after mounting pressure from the international community, including from the Biden administration, urging de-escalation in a conflict that has been described as a humanitarian catastrophe.
The latest quasi-war—which sent shockwaves throughout the Holy Land that reverberated across the world—has proven to be the deadliest in the region since 2014.
In Gaza, now in ruins, entire families were wiped out by Israeli airstrikes—buried under the rubble of their homes. Among the casualties are dozens of children and women, as well as diligent journalists and treasured medical professionals who were indispensable to the besieged and under-resourced enclave, already hard-hit by the global pandemic.
The barrage of strikes that rained down on Gaza demolished houses, shops, and multiple high-rise buildings, including one that housed the offices of the Associated Press. One Gazan father lost four children in a matter of seconds after an airstrike destroyed his home. “My darling, my darling, thank God, thank God,” he can be heard shouting in a video showing him reuniting with his sole surviving child, a six-month-old infant.
The youngest casualty on the Israeli side is 5-year-old Ido Avigal, who was killed after a Hamas rocket—one of hundreds launched into Israel—bypassed the Iron Dome and landed in the town of Sderot. “I’m sorry I did not take the shrapnel in your place,” his mother reportedly said at his funeral.
What started as localized resistance to the forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem—and the removal of Muslim worshippers from Al-Aqsa mosque during a violent raid by Israeli forces—soon exploded long-simmering tensions that have persisted in the region for over half a century.
Around the world, protests drew in hundreds of thousands of people demanding an end to Israel’s seemingly ever-growing settlements, its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and its structural discrimination against Arabs in what has been blasted as an apartheid system.
Domestically, riots swept through mixed Arab-Israeli cities, neighbors turned on each other, and both Jewish-Israelis and Arab-Israelis were targeted in lynching attacks.
The violence raised questions about the rise of the far-right in Israeli politics, as ultra-nationalists marched through the streets chanting “Death to Arabs” and politicians warned that “Gaza will burn.”
It also spotlighted the U.S. role in supplying weapons and billions in foreign aid to Israel, and laid bare the media biases, inflammatory messaging, and the disinformation campaigns surrounding the conflict, further inflaming tensions on both sides.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the brutality of the offensive in Gaza by clamoring on about the “heavy price” that Hamas needed to pay for threatening the security of Israeli citizens, as his spokesman shared misleading social media posts that were quickly debunked.
While this bout of attacks might be over, the underlying issues that instigated it are not.
The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are still awaiting a verdict from Israel’s high court on whether they’ll be forced to vacate their homes. Settlements continue to expand. Gaza is still under a grueling blockade. And the occupation—protested by scores within the Holy Land and around the globe—is ongoing.