For Many Gazans, if Flare-up With Israel Brings Relief – So Be It

Some Palestinians say they are 'sick of promises' for change, but believe the weekend's escalation may cause sides to finally reach understandings

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israeli airstrike hits Gaza City, Saturday, May 4, 2019.
Israeli airstrike hits Gaza City, Saturday, May 4, 2019.Credit: Hatem Moussa,AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

>> Update: After four Israelis and 23 Gazans killed, cease-fire reached between Hamas and Israel

Despite Saturday's serious flare-up, no extreme countermeasures were taken in the Gaza Strip. The common notion shared by most in the coastal enclave is that this just another round that will end within a few days.

"We are already used to this situation for years. What is clear is that no one wants a long and frontal confrontation, but each party has its own reasons to stretch this out until the end," a Hamas activist residing in the southern Gaza neighborhood of Al-Zaytun said in a conversation with Haaretz.

According to the activist, the fact that a senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad delegation is currently in Cairo for talks with top Egyptian intelligence officials increases the likelihood that a cease-fire will be achieved, but no one knows how long it would actually last. "In Gaza we are sick of promises about the understandings and as long as they are not fully implemented, what happened this weekend will repeat itself," he said.

>> Read more: Two Israelis wounded amid barrage of Gaza rockets; Israel pounds Strip | Live updates ■ Defense sources warned flare-up was around the cornerHamas twists Israel's arm right before the Eurovision and Independence Day | Amos Harel ■ Tel Aviv Eurovision preparations still underway despite Gaza escalation

On Monday, Palestinian worshipers in the Strip, like their brethren in the rest of the Muslim world, will mark the beginning of the Ramadan – a month of fast and prayer. But a festive atmosphere and an active movement of tradesmen do not pervail in Gaza City as they usually do around this time of the year.

"It's part of the issue, people are complacenet and apathic, and the situation is very grave," says Samir Zakut, the deputy mananger of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. "There is no shortage of groceries in Gaza, but people don't have the money to go shopping. Everyone expected that the understandings reached in the last round [of escalation] would bring relief but in reality nothing happened, the ocean was opened but then closed [Israel extended and reduced Gaza's fishing zone], the Qatari money that had been promised did not reach people and the feeling is that everything is stuck," Zakut lamented.

Elsewhere in Gaza, there are those who are in favor of the flare-up. "We hear from frustrated people on the street that if the escalation eventually brings relief, so be it," a social activist in Gaza affliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said. According to him, Gaza has no horizons, so any move that could bring change will be welcome – even if it is a violent escalation that could cost many their lives.

Talal Abu Zarifa, a member of the national council behind the weekly demonstrations along the border between Israel and the Strip, told Haaretz that Gazans will not accept a formula according to which Palestinians tolerate their situation and continue to give Israel quiet.

"The formula according to which Israel acts however it wants and dictates the agenda won't be accepted by the different factions, so Gaza expects Israel to implement understandings that were reached and only then things will calm down," he explained.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Progressive Jews Urge ADL Chief to Apologize for Calling Out Democratic Activist

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders with Jessica Cisneros in San Antonio last week.

It’s AIPAC vs. Bernie Sanders in Too-close-to-call Texas Democratic Runoff

U.S. President Joe Biden. Making a historic pivot to Asia.

Biden Does What His Three Predecessors Talked About Yet Failed to Do

Meir Kahane addressing his followers during a demonstration in Jerusalem, in 1984.

Why the U.S. Removed Kahane Chai From Terrorist Blacklist