View of a researcher coming from Gaza on what is happening

“Gaza is under attack” was the first post I read on November 14th 2012. Eight days elapsed with images of murdered children and civilians. Israel dubbed this attack “Operation Pillar of Cloud”. I was glued on Al Jazeera’s live streaming. Each time Al Jazeera broadcasted a new bombardment, I closely examined the images with the fear to see remnants of my parents’ house in Gaza or the face of my father or my mother sticking out of the rubble. Yet, there was too much destruction to be able to tell the location these attacks and each time, I had to call my mother to make sure they are unharmed.

Although Israel justified the operation by self-defense, attacking someone’s house, schools, or even military is offensive. In the end, the root cause of the developments in Gaza is the occupation of Palestine in 1948 and the displacement of some 771,000 Palestinians from what is called Israel thereafter. Today, Gaza has a population of about 1.5 million, 1.1 (73.3%) of which are refugees who fled the 1948 and the 1967 wars. The majority of those refugees came from what is known now south of Israel where Palestinian rockets land today.

Some argued that the Israeli PM, Netanyahu launched such operation to gain more votes in the upcoming elections in 2013. Netanyahu was not the first to do so and several Israeli parties who previously launched similar operations were reelected. Israel claimed the killing of more than 80 civilians 37 of which are children an error although it has the tools to accurately hit precise targets.

The cease-fire agreement reached on November 20th 2012 somewhat served Hamas’s interests. Many Palestinians expressed admiration of Hamas’s steadfastness and saw in Gaza a symbol for the Palestinian suffering under occupation. For the first time, Hamas’s rockets appeared to push Israeli into a truce, which strengthened Hamas’s popularity.

Although many Palestinians and Israelis celebrated the end of the operation, much caution remains. While relieved after severe tension, many Gazans question the value of the agreement. To them, having Israel sign up for lifting the Gaza siege took the life of more than 160 persons in one week and left massive destruction while they know the truce will not live long. Moreover, many Israelis and Palestinians realize that violence can be an endless cycle and Operation Pillar of Cloud can be nothing but a test for the capabilities of Gaza militants and for the post-revolutionary Arab regimes in case Israel launches a war against Iran.