Ceasefire in Gaza holds on second day as teams of Egyptian mediators meet officials in Israel and Palestine and humanitarian aid begins to enter Israeli-blockaded enclave ravaged by 11 days of bloodshed.
The ceasefire between Israel and Palestine in Gaza is holding, as humanitarian aid began to enter the blockaded enclave ravaged by 11 days of Israel's brutal air, land, and sea strikes.
Cafes reopened, fishermen set out to sea and shopkeepers dusted off shelves on Saturday as Gazans slowly resumed their daily lives after days of strikes by Israel left a trail of destruction in the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Aid trickled into Gaza, the blockaded enclave governed by Hamas, as the focus turned to rebuilding the devastated territory a day after a ceasefire took hold.
The Egypt-brokered ceasefire halted Israeli air strikes on the crowded Palestinian territory and rockets fired by Palestinian resistance groups at Israel since May 10.
Rescue workers searched for bodies or survivors in mounds of rubble after what Gazans referred to in the street as the latest "war" or "escalation" with Israel.
In Gaza City's port, Rami Abu Amira and a dozen other fisherman prepared their nets before heading out to sea for the first time in two weeks.
"We need to eat," he said after the Gaza coastguard allowed fishing again, though adding he would stick close to the coastline to stay safe.
"We, fishermen, are scared the Israeli navy will shoot at us. It's up to everyone to decide whether to go or not."
Much-needed aid finally arrives
Meanwhile, convoys of lorries carrying aid began passing into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing on Saturday after it was reopened by Israel, bringing much-needed medicine, food and fuel.
The UN's Central Emergency Response Fund said it had released $18.5 million for humanitarian efforts.
Tens of thousands of Gaza residents ventured out on Friday for the first time in days, checking on neighbours, examining devastated buildings, visiting the sea and burying their dead.
Rescuers there said they were working with meagre resources to reach any survivors still trapped under the rubble.
Nazmi Dahdouh, 70, said an Israeli strike had destroyed his home in Gaza City.
"We don't have another home. I'll live in a tent on top of the rubble of my home until it's rebuilt," the father of five said.
In total, Israeli air strikes have killed 248 people including 66 children since May 10, and wounded 1,948 others, the Health Ministry has said.
Israeli forces have also cracked down on Palestinian protesters in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. At least 25 Palestinians have been killed.
In Gaza, large areas have been flattened and some 120,000 people have been displaced, according to Hamas.
The Israeli army said Gaza's resistance fighters fired more than 4,300 rockets towards Israel, of which 90 percent were intercepted by its air defences.
The rockets claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child, a teenager and an Israeli soldier, Israeli authorities say. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded.
'Painful and severe blow'
Hamas' political chief Ismail Haniyeh said they had "dealt a painful and severe blow that will leave its deep marks" on Israel.
Iran itself praised a "historic victory" and reaffirmed Tehran's support for the Palestinian cause, while there were demonstrations in support of Palestinians in Jordan, Libya and elsewhere.
Israel also claimed victory after the Egypt-brokered truce, which also included Gaza's second most powerful resistance group, Islamic Jihad.
Protestors in Denmark laid out 67 coffins for the 67 children in Gaza who were killed by Israeli airstrikes.— Aleesha Khaliq #SaveSheikhJarrah 🇵🇸 (@a_leesha1) May 22, 2021
If you can’t understand the sheer scale of it, watch this video & look at how small the coffins are: pic.twitter.com/aI6qLClkXK
Egyptian mediators in Israel
An Egyptian diplomat said two teams of Egyptian mediators are in Israel and Palestine to continue talks on firming up a ceasefire deal — and securing a long-term calm.
The diplomat said Saturday's discussions include implementing agreed-on measures in Gaza and Jerusalem, including ways to prevent practices that led to the latest fighting.
The official did not elaborate.
The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss behind-the-scenes deliberations.
The diplomat also said Israel has given a green light to Gaza fishermen to return to sea on Saturday as part of the ceasefire deal.
The Egyptian delegations arrived in Israel and Palestine on Friday, according to Egypt's official MENA news agency. The delegations met with Palestinian factions in Gaza directly after they arrived, MENA reported.
Hussein Sheikh, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, tweeted that one of the Egyptian delegation planned to hold talks with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on Saturday.