Gazans struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives following Israeli bombardment

Gazans struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives following Israeli bombardment
Gazans are struggling to return to some semblance of life as they attempt to rebuild after deadly Israeli bombardment left hundreds dead and several buildings ruined.
3 min read
Gazans struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives in the destruction caused by Israeli bombardment, as a fragile ceasefire holds [Getty]

 Cafes reopened, fishermen set out to sea and shopkeepers dusted off shelves on Saturday as Gazans slowly resumed their daily lives after a deadly 11-day bombardment by Israel.

Aid trickled into the besieged enclave as the focus turned to rebuilding the devastated territory a day after a ceasefire took hold.

The Egypt-brokered truce halted Israeli air strikes on the crowded Palestinian territory and rockets fired by Hamas at Israel since May 10.

Rescue workers searched for bodies or survivors in mounds of rubble after what Gazans referred to in the street as the latest "war" or "escalation" with Israel.

In Gaza City's port, Rami Abu Amira and a dozen other fisherman prepared their nets before heading out to sea for the first time in two weeks.

"We need to eat," he said after the Gaza coastguard allowed fishing again, though adding he would stick close to the coastline to stay safe.

"We, fishermen, are scared the Israeli navy will shoot at us. It's up to everyone to decide whether to go or not."

'All lost'

The latest round of bombardment killed 248 people in Gaza, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 since May 10, the health ministry says.

The United Nations says more than half of those killed, the overwhelming majority in Israeli air strikes, were civilians.

Israel alleges it has killed "more than 200 terrorists", including 25 Hamas commanders - claims it has yet to prove.

Palestinian shop keeper Bilal Mansur, 29, said all his merchandise had been ruined.

"There's dust everywhere, dust from the Israeli bombs clinging to the clothes. We won't be able to sell them," he said.

Nearby store-owner Wael Amin al-Sharafa said he had stocked up his shop with new clothes to sell during the usually busy season of Eid al-Fitr at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

"But now it's all lost," he said. "Who will pay for all this? I have no idea."

'Two-state solution'

The UN's Central Emergency Response Fund said it had released $18.5 million for humanitarian efforts.

The latest round of Israeli bombardment forced 91,000 people to flee their homes in Gaza, the UN humanitarian agency says.

It has hit 1,447 homes, completely destroying 205 residential blocks or homes, as well as ravaged electricity and water supply, according to the Gaza authorities.

Gazans are struggling to rebuild [Getty]
Gazans are struggling to rebuild [Getty]

The UN says three main desalination plants providing drinking water for more than 400,000 people have stopped working.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's bombing campaign had been an "exceptional success", prompting mass criticism over his brutality.

Hamas' political chief Ismail Haniyeh said they had "dealt a painful and severe blow that will leave its deep marks" on Israel, and thanked Iran for "providing funds and weapons".

The international community welcomed the ceasefire.

US President Joe Biden pledged to help organise efforts to rebuild Gaza and said creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel is the "only answer" to the conflict. "We still need a two-state solution," he said.

Peace talks have stalled since 2014 including the continued illegal expansion of settlements in the West Bank, and the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.

Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa

In a reminder of ongoing tensions despite the ceasefire, Israeli police on Friday fired stun grenades at worshippers during prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces beat an AFP photographer who was covering the unrest there.

Israeli security forces had cracked down on protests against the forced expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes to make way for Jewish settlers in the occupied east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

And they had also moved in on worshippers at Al-Aqsa, Islam's third holiest site.