In Depth

Gaza ceasefire: what Israel and Hamas gained and lost

2,200 people died in the conflict and 11,000 were injured. Can either side claim the war was a success?

Israel and Hamas agreed to a "permanent" ceasefire last night, bringing an end to 50 days of fighting and leaving many people on both sides wondering what had been gained from the conflict.

Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman in Gaza, announced that a deal had been struck and Israeli authorities confirmed that they had agreed to its terms. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said: "There will be a complete stop in fighting."

The news was greeted by cheers and celebratory gunfire in Gaza City, as thousands of Palestinians flooded on to the streets.

However, the ceasefire was tested almost immediately when two Israelis were killed in a mortar attack in the Eshkol region near the Gaza border shortly after the truce was announced, The Times reports. 

So what was gained and lost in the conflict? According to the United Nations, more than 2,200 people were killed throughout the seven-week war. The health ministry in Gaza said that 2,133 Palestinians died in the fighting, most of them civilians, and estimated that a further 11,000 were wounded. Seventy Israelis also died in the conflict, most of whom were soldiers from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

The UN estimates that at least 17,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli bombardments, leaving 100,000 people homeless.

Hamas urged Gazans to celebrate a "victory," even though the terms of the deal "appeared to be almost identical to those agreed at the end of the previous war 21 months ago," The Guardian notes.

Under those terms, Israel has agreed to open border crossings and will allow construction materials and humanitarian aid to be brought into the Gaza Strip. It also agreed to extend the permitted fishing zone off the coast of Gaza by six miles. Egypt has also agreed that the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will be opened.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "Hamas is grateful to the people of Gaza who sacrificed their homes, children and money. We announce the victory today after achieving our goals."

For its part, Israel also declared the operation to have been a success. The Israeli military estimates that it depleted the weapons stocks of Hamas and other militant groups by up to a third. Israel also believes it has killed three of Hamas's top commanders and destroyed numerous Palestinian tunnels, limiting the threat posed by militants to Israeli citizens living near the border of Gaza.

But the military successes have come at a cost: world opinion turned against Israel during the conflict, with protests against the operation taking place in many European cities. Some degenerated into explicit anti-Semitism, and across the continent a rise in attacks on Jews was reported. 

The conflict began on 8 July after three Israeli teenagers were abducted and killed in the West Bank. Israel responded by arresting Hamas members, which led to a sharp rise in rocket attacks from Gaza.

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