The dawn of August has brought a sliver of ease, some solace and a measure of hope to the innocents of Gaza. Through determined tireless efforts and negotiations by United States(US) Secretary of State John Kerry, joined by United Nations(UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a 72-hour unconditional humanitarian cease-fire to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been agreed upon by both Hamas and Israel. The truce started earlier this morning.
Though fragile, and already tested in the initial hours with reports from the Associated Press(AP) that in the second-hour of the truce, which began at 1:00 a.m EDT, Israeli tanks shelled the eastern part of Rafah in southern Gaza killing at least four Palestinians and wounding another 15, this fifth truce of this 2014 Israeli-Palestinian conflict, could become the benchmark to a more attainable broader peace for the people of Palestine and of Israel. Representatives of the conflict parties are expected to travel to facilitator Egypt today to negotiate a broader and more lasting peace accord with representatives of the US and UN and with some input from Turkey and Qatar.
Should this current cease-fire hold, no celebrations can be expected in Gaza - only solemn memorials and funerals, care for the wounded and dismay and disbelief over observations of the colossal damage wrecked upon Gaza in 25 days of war. More than 1,450 Palestinians, mostly civilians including many children have died in this 2014 conflict. Israeli losses number about 60. And in spite of wherever this conflict turns from here, this conflict will be remembered mostly because of the disproportionate number of innocent children and civilians killed and the number of times refugee centers were attacked with resulting death from within an expected place of sanctuary.
We pray for the peace and security of the innocents of Gaza. Peace will be difficult. Lunacy versus arrogance is a volatile combination under which all senses of rational thought are lost easily. Negotiations to a peace cannot be relied upon solely by the conflicting parties anymore because anger and revenge runs too deeply among the factions. A specific call for a cease-fire and for peace must come explicitly from Washington, New York and Brussels.