My piece for The Nation filed from Gaza after the ceasefire agreement ended Israel’s eight-day assault on the territory:
Gaza erupted in celebration Wednesday night, as thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the wake of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Minutes after the agreement was implemented at 9:00pm, the crackle of gunfire, ululations, and cries of Allah Akbar began to ring out from the city’s mosques, drowning out the hum of drones still circling overhead. Dark, deserted and under bombardment for the past eight days, Gaza’s streets sprang back to life, with cars whizzing by honking their horns, fireworks exploding in the sky and thousands of residents pouring into the streets waving flags, and chanting victory over Israel.
“There is an unprecedented mood among the people,” says Raji Sourani, the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza. “We lost a lot, we are bleeding, but there is this feeling that we made it, that this was a victory.”
The final 24 hours were particularly brutal. Israel unleashed an escalated assault on the strip, continuing the attacks even as the ceasefire was being announced in Cairo by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, alongside US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At least one Palestinian was killed in the final minutes before the 9pm deadline—a macabre countdown before the assault finally ended.