After just over a month of fighting, a 72 hour cease-fire held through to the end of last week. Rocket fire briefly resumed from Hamas on Saturday (followed shortly thereafter by Israeli aistrikes), after Hamas blamed Israel for refusing to accede to language regarding an end to the Gaza blockade, but a more permanent truce is now in the works via Egyptian intermediaries. For those who need a reminder, Israel has been blockading the Gaza Strip for the last seven years, which has taken a profound economic and humanitarian toll on the residents of Gaza.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian people collectively hold their breath and try to cope with the overwhelming destruction. From a New York Times article:
[F]adi Abu Al-Roos, who works as a clerk for the United Nations, returned to his peach-and-white tiled home to find “Storeroom position” written in Hebrew on what remained of the outside wall. Inside, a framed cross-stitch “God Bless Our Home,” in English, was hanging intact amid the ruins.
“I don’t see it as a victory or a defeat,” he said. “It’s only destruction.”
…Dr. Fara is haunted by a 3-year-old girl who arrived at a clinic with head injuries under the label “Anonymous No. 6.” Not only did the girl have no relatives to identify her, Dr. Fara thought, but there were five others before her in the same situation.
“I’m worried about this generation, what memories are in their mind, what will happen after a few years,” she said quietly. “No matter what you ask the children to draw, the drawings will come back with blood.”
After, the jump, here is the Butcher’s Bill for the Gaza conflict.
The totals were taken from this NY Times interactive. For some reason, the daily reported deaths do not match the final totals at the top of the screen or UN estimates (which place the final Palestinian death toll at 1,922); the reasons for the discrepancy are unclear, so I am going with the daily reported totals.
And here are the airstrikes and rockets launched by either side.
Nearly 2000 human lives lost in a period of a month — most Palestinian civilians. The United Nations estimates that 448 of Palestinian deaths — approximately one-fourth of all deaths — were children. More than two-thirds of Palestinians killed in the month-long conflict were civilians. An additional 200,000 people have been displaced by the violence.
This sort of indiscriminate violence and killing is senseless and intolerable. Meanwhile, in the United States, there is evidence that those speaking out in solidarity with the residents of Gaza are being blacklisted or otherwise targeted with spurious charges of anti-Semitism (aside: those who are actually grounding their support of Gaza in anti-Semitism need to stop).
Again, I have no words to describe my feelings of anger over this senseless killing and destruction. I am glad the fighting has stopped, and the real work of finding peace can begin.