The latest cease-fire, which began on Tuesday, is the longest period of time the two groups have held off fighting. But for many, each hour that passes is one minute closer to the deadline running out.
CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata reported from Tel Aviv on Wednesday that despite the longest lull in fighting since the current crisis began, the cease-fire felt more like a standoff, and the prospect of a return to war wasn’t far away; Israeli tanks were still positioned right on the Gaza border.
Whether the calm lasts, said D’Agata, was entirely dependent on the success of the talks in Cairo. Both sides have sent teams to discuss opposing demands that Hamas demilitarize and Israel end its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Details regarding the negotiations have been sparse. Officials do say, however, that Hamas wants to include an internationally funded reconstruction that would be overseen by a Palestinian unity government led by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Norway is organizing a donor conference and the Western-backed Abbas is expected to take the lead in overseeing the rebuilding in the coastal territory, which his Fatah movement lost to Hamas in 2007.
Meanwhile, residents of the area are returning to their homes, surveying the damage in areas previously occupied by Israeli troops. Many, sadly, did not have homes to return to.
Cars and donkey carts loaded with household goods and mattresses filled the streets and queues formed at banks as people waited to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Crews from utility companies worked frantically to repair downed electricity and telephone lines, though with Gaza’s only electrical generating plant badly damaged by an Israeli attack, it may be a long while before anything resembling normal service is restored.
In the devastated Shijaiyah neighborhood east of Gaza city, carpenter Mahmoud Al Maghani, 44, surveyed the damage to his property.
“I think my workshop was here, but honestly I can’t make sure of that,” he said. “I came yesterday and all I found was rubble.”
The month-long fighting has resulted in the death of 1,900 Palestinians and 67 Israeli soldiers (including three civilians). We’ll keep you updated with the latest.
SOURCE: CBS | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty