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Ceasefire Between Hamas and Israel Announced

From Audio: Friday, May 21, 2021
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A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas begins after 11 days of fighting devastated Gaza.
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on the streets of the Gaza Strip last night, Palestinians are celebrating the start of a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, in which both sides are claiming victory. Here's what that victory looks like. 11 days of rockets flying out of Gaza, 11 days of Israeli bombs striking Gaza. Palestinian officials say more than 243 people were killed, 66 of them Children. In Gaza, hundreds of buildings were destroyed and in Israel authorities say Hamas rockets killed 12 people, including two Children. NPR's Daniel Estrin joins us from Jerusalem Daniel, thanks for being there. First off is the ceasefire holding at this point, it is the two sides are calling it quiet for quiet, which means both agreed to stop firing, but if one side breaks a ceasefire, the other response and officials say that probably in a few days there will be negotiations about the terms um Egypt called the ceasefire at two a.m. Local time. That's when it was supposed to start and right up to the deadline. There were strikes. The last Israeli strike was heard around one a.m. The last Palestinian rocket fire was around 1:50:50 a.m. And then right at two AM, Palestinians went into the streets in Gaza, celebrated also in the West Bank, also at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, worshipers chanted and praised Hamas and right away in Gaza, thousands of people who had sought shelter in U. N. Buildings load up their trucks and drive home. Um We have not seen celebration gatherings among Israelis but many Israelis you know have been up at night and protected rooms. A lot of air raid sirens in the middle of the night and finally they could get a little bit more sleep. Uh Steve noted both sides are declaring victory here. I mean they can say whatever they want, but what's the reality? Well, the reality is both sides are trying to sell this as a victory to their own people who have suffered tremendously under the last 11 days in Gaza Hamas held a rally in the middle of the night on the street where the most devastating Israeli strikes took place, where whole extended families were killed. Hamas leader said this is one of our biggest victories ever. Thank you citizens, you are swords for Jerusalem. Hamas is hoping it will regain popularity that it's lost in recent years and many people really were cheering for Hamas. But my colleague in Gaza spoke to one man, Mahmoud Matar who had a different take, let's listen, he was saying, I don't feel good at all, he was surveying the damage for the first time. On that street, he said, people invested their whole lives building up these homes that were wiped out in seconds, he was placing blame with everyone. Now, just a word about Israel, the defense minister said Israel had unprecedented military achievements. He did not elaborate. And my colleague Becky. Sullivan met an Israeli woman this morning, Sheila Bronner, who was asking questions. I think it's bad for both sides because it's going to be the same as I can next year or something for you. Maximum. So, people already anticipating more violence in the future. I mean, let's just talk about the situation on the ground in Gaza. Now, I mean, multiple buildings reduced to rubble, as you say, extended families killed. But what kind of immediate needs do people there face? They face medical needs. We're talking about over 1700 people wounded, according to Gaza officials, 1800 homes and apartments totally destroyed, huge damage to sewage roads, water pipelines, electricity, industrial facilities. And don't forget Covid, they're only testing labs, stopped working. One of their top covid doctors was killed. So let's talk for a second about what that woman mentioned. This. Fear that this could just happen again and again. I mean, they fought for 50 days in 2014. That's right. The big question here is will the mediators bring some kind of political solution until that I don't think people on either side are going to see any future here for their Children. NPR's daniel Estrin, reporting from Jerusalem. Thank you. You're welcome.