As Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire Holds, Gazans Survey Wreckage

The four-day-old cease-fire between Israel and Hamas as of this writing has held well so far, with no major incidents. The calm is welcome, with many Israelis now able to return to their day-to-day lives. However, the situation in Gaza is still very fragile, as evidenced by the devastation in the area following the massive Israeli strikes, which killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 200 others.

The five-day-old cease-fire between Hamas and Israel has held for most of the past 24 hours. The only major casualty was an allegation of a possible violation of the cease-fire by Israel. (See more here .)

On a recent visit to Gaza, I found myself pondering the Palestinian perspective on the cease-fire signed between the Palestinians and Israel. I found myself wondering how Gazans viewed the truce and what they thought the future would hold.

Here’s what you need to know:

Gaza residents surveying the damage to their homes on Friday.Credit…Hosam Salem for The New York Times

The United States plans to be at the forefront of an international effort to help rebuild Gaza, an undertaking that is likely to cost billions of dollars and include restoring health and education services and other reconstruction, a senior Biden administration official said on Thursday.

The official said that rebuilding Gaza — likely to be coordinated through the United Nations — was at the top of a list of diplomatic considerations in the region now that a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants was underway.

The administration is also considering how to foster relations and coordination among Palestinian political factions in Gaza and the West Bank. The rivalry between the Palestinian Authority, which exerts partial control in parts of the occupied territories, and Hamas, which governs Gaza and which the United States, Israel and others consider a terrorist group, has been a major obstacle in international efforts to aid Palestinians.

Rebuilding Gaza is a necessary part of the diplomacy — not only to help residents, but also because officials and experts said it could help create leverage with Hamas, which has lost popularity among residents who criticize its authoritarian approach and poor administration.

But Dennis B. Ross, a veteran American negotiator of peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians, said that international donors would be wary of financing a costly reconstruction effort without assurances that any investments would not go to waste — as they all but certainly would if Hamas reignited hostilities.

Similar warnings were posed in 2014 after an eight-week war between Israel and Hamas damaged more than 170,000 homes in Gaza, displacing over a quarter of its population. The international community created a monitoring system to oversee the rebuilding efforts and block any attempts by Hamas to import supplies that could be used as weapons.

Mr. Ross said that any future monitoring system would need to be an effective, round-the-clock endeavor that would halt reconstruction if Hamas were found to be storing, building or preparing to launch rockets.

“The issue is massive reconstruction for no rockets,” Mr. Ross said. “There has to be enough oversight of this process to know that it’s working the way it’s intended. And the minute you see irregularities, everything stops.”With several exceptions, the media has been careful to report the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza without bias. However, the media’s portrayal of the crisis in Gaza has often presented Israel’s point-of-view, including Israeli officials’ framing of their actions as self-defense against Hamas’s aggression. The media narrative has also included biased information about humanitarian aid delivered to the Gaza Strip, and uncritical reporting of the Israeli military’s influence over the territory. This blog aims to expose the media’s willful bias and attempt to provide more balanced coverage, including international perspectives that are less well-known.. Read more about israel-hamas war 2021 and let us know what you think.

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