“Entire blocks of flats brought down, holes in the road, broken pipes”. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Israel to visit the government of Israel and the Palestinian leadership. His goal? Perpetuating last week’s ceasefire after 11 days of deadly bombing campaign between Israel and Hamas. The Gaza Strip in particular was hit hard. Correspondent Ties Brock went to have a look
Ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians
The ceasefire between Israel and the Palestine is now about 4 days old and people in the heavily bombed Gaza Strip are gradually returning to daily life. For eleven days, the Israeli regime and the radical group Hamas harassed each other. But the heavy damage, which is mainly for Gaza, sees Israel correspondent Ties Brock.
“The reconstruction will be very demanding. You see a place that has been bombed every few hundred meters. Entire blocks of flats have been knocked down, there are holes in the road, you see broken pipes. According to the United Nations, at least 1,000 houses have been destroyed and many hundreds heavily damaged. There is damage amounting to hundreds of millions of euros.”
Brock arrived in Gaza on Friday night, shortly after the ceasefire went into effect. “You felt an exuberant mood in the street: people had put on their nice clothes and went out into the street, children were given ice cream. People said: ‘It’s as if we are now celebrating Sugar Feast again’. You felt the relief. But at the same time you saw everywhere the destruction. That was a curious contrast.”
Eyes and ears everywhere
The flare-up of violence began after 4 Palestinian families in a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem were forced out of their homes by Israeli settlers. That spark spread to the Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is also located. There, clashes broke out between the Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators. The police then even carried flash grenades into the mosque.
For that reason, Hamas has fired rockets at Israel, after which it has started bombing Gaza. “If you then ask: ‘was this worth it?’, many people say: ‘Yes, we wanted to show that Jerusalem is our capital’. You should also note that it is difficult to say otherwise here. Hamas is in control here and has eyes and ears everywhere, so they can’t just say, ‘We shouldn’t have done that’.”
US is mixing
Meanwhile, the US government is also involved in the matter. Foreign Minister Blinken is currently in Israel to follow up on the ceasefire. He reiterated during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas missiles. He also mentioned that the situation in Gaza is serious and that the US will offer humanitarian aid to rebuild the area.
“We need to use the resulting space to address a wider range of underlying issues and challenges, starting with the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting its reconstruction. The United States will work to increase international support for that effort and will also make important contributions themselves”.