A “partial” ceasefire for humanitarian reasons began early Saturday, and has been extended another 24 hours by Israel, bringing it through much of Sunday. Yet the relative pause is offering little relief for the Gazans.
“There’s no such thing as a truce – it’s just lies,” complained one Palestinian, noting her home was ripped apart by Israeli artillery fire overnight, during the putative pause. In places that saw less bombing, civilians flocked to markets, desperate to buy what food remains in the strip.
Hamas insisted that they rejected the unilateral ceasefire, though exactly what this means remains unclear. They insisted it was because Israel did not withdraw their ground troops.
And Israeli ground troops did continue their invasion, and while the shelling of civilian areas was slowed, but not stopped. Palestinian civilians are being warned against returning to their homes, as Israel intends to continue the war as soon as the latest round of ceasefires ends.
The ceasefire also saw a massive increase in the Palestinian death toll, as civilians were able to get out and recover the dead and dying littering the streets. At least 1,139 are now confirmed dead.
The death toll on the Gaza side is overwhelmingly civilian in nature, with roughly 24% of them children under the age of 18. On the Israeli side, by contrast, the toll is 45 dead, with 42 of them combatants involved in the invasion.
Israeli officials say they intend to unilaterally uphold the 24-hour extension, though they will continue their ground invasion and will also attack sites from which rockets are fired. Whether that holds for an entire 24 hour span remains to be seen.