Hope springs eternal in Gaza
by Mohammed Omer an award winning Palestinian-Dutch journalist, based in Gaza writing in The Middle East Eye (Wed 17th June 2015).
Signs of a peace deal and possible truce give Palestinians cause for optimism during the month of Ramadan
Ramadan 2014 still lingers in the memory of most Palestinians in Gaza. This holy month – usually a time of spiritual reflection and celebration – was filled last year with physical and emotional agony, as Palestinians broke their fast amid missiles and bombs from relentless Israeli airstrikes.
Today, on the eve of Ramadan 2015, Gazans seem more hopeful, as leaked reports whisper of a possible truce with Hamas.
Statements and reports in the media are emerging, indicating a new agreement to end Israel’s eight-year siege on Gaza is likely to happen soon.
Among such indications are increasing visits by European officials to Gaza, including foreign ministers; more public statements by UN officials to end the siege on Gaza; the sudden opening of the Rafah crossing; and the recent permission for cement and construction materials to come through the Rafah crossing in order to rebuild a devastated Gaza.
The latter move was precipitated by Egypt’s sudden change of stance on Gaza, which included removing, from one of its courts, the label of “terrorist” from Hamas’s military wing, before Egypt permitted 4,000 tonnes of reconstruction cement through to the besieged Strip.
There are also Saudi-Qatari-Turkish efforts, proposing a six-year ceasefire to Hamas if it signs up to Qatari projects offering reconstruction. Israeli reports also indicate that a deal is forthcoming.
Photo: File picture shows children buying sweets to celebrate Eid in Gaza