A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the government of Gaza, broke down on Tuesday of this week as Israel resumed its bombardment of Gaza.
The latest Israeli assault on Gaza began last month and had reached a death toll of almost 2,000 Palestinians as Socialist Worker went to press.
Hamas’ demands are simple. They want Israel to lift its siege of Gaza. This would include increasing the permitted fishing zone and allowing an airport and seaport in Gaza.
Hamas also wants border controls with Egypt and Israel relaxed to allow people in Gaza to travel to the West Bank and elsewhere.
Israa Badwan lives in Gaza City. She echoed Hamas’ stance.
Israa told Socialist Worker, “I want to open the borders and be able to move freely. It’s not a demand–it’s our right.”
But Israa did not hold out much hope for a new airport to be built in Gaza.
“How could people afford tickets?” she asked. “The government can’t even pay salaries. The airport is a joke.”
Israel is reluctant to make any concessions that would allow Hamas to claim victory–and with good reason.
It does not want to send a message to Palestinians that armed resistance can get results.
It doesn’t want to encourage such resistance in the West Bank, which is controlled by the compliant Palestinian Authority.
Israel is pushing for demilitarisation of the Gaza Strip. Hamas and the other Palestinian resistance factions have refused this demand outright.
And Israel is under pressure from its Western backers to concede something.
The US cancelled a transfer of Hellfire missiles to Israel last week. President Barack Obama has had to say he now wants to review all Israeli requests for arms.
The US government is reportedly angry that Israel received weapons directly from the US military during the Gaza onslaught without the White House’s knowledge.
The past two ceasefires between Israel and Hamas have largely been observed. Yet the death toll in Gaza continued to rise as some of the injured died.
These included a 90 year old woman and a 60 year old man on Thursday of last week.
More than 10,000 people are injured and some 365,000 people, a fifth of Gaza’s population, remain displaced.
Six people were killed in Beit Lahiya on Wednesday of last week when an unexploded bomb detonated.
Bomb disposal experts had been trying to defuse it.
With no protective equipment they had to use basic tools such as screwdrivers and pliers.
The United Nations has warned that there are thousands of what it calls explosive remnants of war in Gaza that put people at risk.