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Ceasefire holding as UN official says Gaza has nothing to lose

Palestinian youths look at a building that was damaged by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, July 14, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

A United Nations aid agency official says Palestinians in the Gaza Strip "have nothing to lose” as a ceasefire reached between Israel and the Palestinian resistance groups seemed to be holding on Sunday, following Israel's heavy bombardment of the territory and Hamas's retaliatory rocket fire a day earlier.

The remarks by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) media adviser Adnan Abu Hasna underlined problems facing Gazans who grapple with a shattered economy in the face of a crippling Israeli siege. 

“There is no tomorrow in Gaza, it’s a big prison, there are no dreams, there is no stability. Two million people, 50 percent unemployment, the private sector doesn’t work,” he said in an interview with Ynet, the online arm of Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronot on Saturday.

“The damage from the 2014 war has still not been repaired, but the central problem here in Gaza is that people have nothing to lose,” he said.

He was referring to Israel’s last war against the enclave, which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children. The war last for 50 days.

Threat of war

Abu Hasna said Israel could take the territory under yet another war.

“We hear the attacks, the drones and the F-16s. The people are talking about an escalation and these kinds of things,” he said, noting, “There is fear of an escalation and it reminds them exactly of 2014. There’s a bad memory of what happened at that time.”

Abu Hasna said the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas, Palestinian officials, and regular people in the street do not want wars.

Tel Aviv has most recently ratcheted up its attacks against Gaza, taking it under dozens of airstrikes, while claiming that it is responding to rocket fire from the territory.

Also on Saturday, it was reported that the regime and Gaza-based resistance groups had reached a “ceasefire agreement.” Only hours afterwards, however, the regime resumed its attacks again alleging that it had come under renewed rocket strikes.

Still, reports on Sunday suggested that the ceasefire appeared to be holding, allaying concerns about a new war breaking out following the most severe flare-up in Gaza violence since 2014 on Saturday.

The UN official also cited the drastic cut in the United States assistance to his organization as a decisive factor in its ability to provide relief to the enclave.

“Every year, we would get $360 million. This year we got only $60 million. A large portion of this money is spent on the food we supply a million people in Gaza’s population here, every three months. I’m talking about basic food: Olive oil, bread, things like that,” he said.

“We have no money to continue to supply food to these people here, and we don’t know what is going to happen,” the official went on.

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