DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip: Residents of the Gaza Strip woke up to a Sunday morning without the sounds of bombardments and explosions after five days of continuous fighting between Islamic Jihad and Israel.
Cars returned to the streets, stores opened their doors, and residents greeted each other, letting their neighbors know that they had not lost relatives or property.
The Palestinian Ministry of Education in Gaza also announced the resumption of classes starting Monday, after inspecting school buildings to determine whether they had suffered damages from the bombing.
The Ministry of Economy said that the initial losses for each day of the “Zionist aggression on the enclave amounted to $10 million, with a total of $50 million as a result of the disruption of the production process.”
Israel and Islamic Jihad agreed to a ceasefire on Saturday night, mediated by Egypt with efforts by Qatar, the UN and the US.
Yahya Abu Obeid, 55, was searching through the rubble of his house in the city of Deir Al-Balah in the middle of the Gaza Strip, looking for clothes and the remnants of furniture or household supplies.
“We left the house without any belongings,” he told Arab News, adding that he hoped to find items he could make use of while waiting for the rubble to be removed and, possibly, his house to be rebuilt.
Israel bombed Abu Obeid’s house for the second time during the latest round of fighting. It was destroyed in the 2014 war as well.
“It took three years to rebuild the house in 2014. I don’t know when I will rebuild it again. We are currently living with relatives,” he said.
There were 10 people — Abu Obeid and his sons — living in the two-story house.
“Our lives as Palestinians are full of tragedies,” said Abu Obeid. “This is not the first time, and it may not be the last.
“Israel does not differentiate between civilian homes and others. When it lacks goals, it destroys civilian homes to put pressure on the residents.”
The destruction of Abu Obeid’s house by a single Israeli missile caused widespread destruction in the surrounding area, damaging several houses beyond repair.
Ali Sarsour, 36, was cleaning his house with his wife. His apartment was next to Abu Obaid’s house and suffered extensive damage to the windows and walls.
“There is no safety in this place,” said Sarsour.
“How long must we suffer before the world understands that we deserve a better life?”
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 33 Palestinians — including six children — were killed, while at 190 others were injured.
During the fighting, 11 Islamic Jihad members were killed, including six of its most prominent military commanders and some of their children and families, according to an official statement.
Islamic Jihad does not see the end of this latest round of fighting as an end to the confrontation with Israel, but rather as “one episode in a long war.”
In a statement following the announcement of the ceasefire, Ziyad Al-Nakhala, secretary-general of Islamic Jihad, said: “Today we announce the end of another round of conflict with the Zionist project, in which we lost our dearest sons among the martyred leaders.”