Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Gaza, Egypt, Netanyahu, Ismail Haniya

Palestine, Israel

Thousands of Gazans return to destroyed homes, Biden vows to rebuild

US President Joe Biden pledged to help organise efforts to rebuild Gaza, adding the two state solution is the 'only answer' to the conflict.

5/22/2021 5:30:00 AM

Thousands of displaced Palestinians have ventured out into bomb-shattered Gaza for the first time in days after the Israel 's relentless bombardment

US President Joe Biden pledged to help organise efforts to rebuild Gaza , adding the two state solution is the 'only answer' to the conflict.

Israeli forces storm Al AqsaFriday's ceasefire faced an early test when Israeli forces stormed Al Aqsa Mosque compound again and engaged in pitched battles with the Palestinian protesters.Police fired stun grenades and tear gas, and Palestinians hurled rocks in response after hundreds took part in a celebratory demonstration in which they waved Palestinian and Hamas flags and cheered the resistance group. 

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Protesters also clashed with Israeli troops in parts of the occupied West Bank, which has seen violent demonstrations in recent days linked to occupied Jerusalem and blockaded Gaza.Thousands took to the streets of Gaza as the ceasefire took hold at 2 am. Young men waved Palestinian and Hamas flags, passed out sweets, honked horns and set off fireworks. 

Celebrations also broke out overnight in occupied East Jerusalem and across the occupied West Bank. Israel captured all three territories in the 1967 war and the Palestinians want them for their future state.READ MORE:Palestine FM: Ceasefire ‘not enough’, Jerusalem occupation core issue

'It will not be the last war'An open-air market in Gaza City that was closed throughout the war reopened and shoppers could be seen stocking up on fresh tomatoes, cabbage and watermelons. Workers in orange traffic vests swept up rubble from surrounding roads.

"Life will return, because this is not the first war, and it will not be the last war," said shop owner Ashraf Abu Mohammad. "The heart is in pain, there have been disasters, families wiped from the civil registry, and this saddens us. But this is our fate in this land, to remain patient."

There was little to celebrate in the hard-hit northern town of Beit Hanoun, where residents, many of whom had lost loved ones, surveyed wrecked homes."We see such huge destruction here, it's the first time in history we've seen this," said Azhar Nsair. "The ceasefire is for people who didn't suffer, who didn't lose their loved ones, whose homes were not bombed."

READ MORE: Ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian groups goes into effect in GazaIsrael says was unable to halt rockets Like the three previous wars, the latest round of fighting ended inconclusively. Israel claimed it inflicted heavy damage on Hamas with hundreds of bruising air strikes but once again was unable to halt the rockets.

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Hamas also claimed victory but faces the daunting challenge of rebuilding in a territory already suffering from high unemployment and a coronavirus outbreak.Days of unrest at Al Aqsa during Islam's holy fasting month of Ramadan forced Hamas to demand Israeli forces vacate the compound by 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) on May 10 and stop expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Hamas then fired rockets at Israel and its occupied areas when the deadline expired. Israel commenced a heavy aerial bombardment on Gaza, a small enclave blockaded by Tel Aviv since 2007 from land, air and sea. Palestinians have also become frustrated by setbacks to their aspirations for an independent state and an end to Israeli occupation in recent years.

There were calls from occupied West Bank for Hamas to act militarily, many analysts say. Gaza's rockets are mostly repurposed handmade weapons in comparison to Israel's military might which gets over $16 billion for defence spending and $3.8 billion from the US in annual funding.

At least 243 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children, with 1,910 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Twelve people were killed in Israel.In Gaza, rescue workers were still recovering bodies from areas that had been too dangerous to enter.

Five were collected on Friday in the southern town of Khan Younis, including that of a three-year-old, the Red Crescent emergency service said."We want to see the Palestinian people free and living in their own independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," said Palestine's FM Riyad al Maliki following Gaza's ceasefire with Israel.

Read more: TRT World »

Progress 77 and Pirs Undocked from Station

The unpiloted Russian Progress 77 cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station while attached to the Pirs docking compartment at 6:55 a.m. EDT.

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