'Take the deal': Gazans eager for Hamas to accept ceasefire with Israel

Displaced Palestinians in Rafah desperate to return to the north of the enclave

Palestinian children walk past a house damaged in an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Reuters
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Palestinians in Gaza are waiting anxiously for the outcome of the ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel, hoping it will bring an end to their suffering after seven months of fighting.

The Palestinian group on Thursday said it was sending a delegation to Egypt for further negotiations amid attempts by international mediators to reach an agreement.

Shuaib Abu Jahal, 38, a father of two, is living in a tent with his family in Rafah in the south of the strip. They are waiting, hoping for a ceasefire to be declared so can return to their home in northern Gaza.

“Of course, I'm with any ceasefire, even without the condition of it ending the war completely, because this ceasefire could be a relief for us from the fear we are experiencing and for our children from the sound of bombing and shelling, and this ceasefire could be the beginning towards an agreement on a permanent ceasefire,” Mr Abu Jahal told The National.

I want Hamas, and I demand it, to accept the current offer. Every day, we lose one of our people
Shuaib Abu Jahal, displaced Palestinian

The family has been displaced several times and faced many ordeals in the past few months.

“I lost my father because of the weakness of the healthcare system, he was at Al Shifa Hospital," Mr Abu Jahal said. "He was a kidney patient and the damaged facilities affected the dialysis process, leading to his death."

Mr Abu Jahal believes the ceasefire deal on offer this time is better than the preceding one, as it guarantees the return of people to the north of the enclave.

"I want Hamas, and I demand it, to accept the current offer," he said. "It doesn't have to take or achieve all the conditions at once because time is not in our favour. Every day, we lose one of our people."

More than 34,600 Palestinians have been killed and 77,867 injured since Israel's war on Gaza began on October 7, Palestinian health authorities said.

In the past 24 hours, 26 people were killed and 51 injured, they added.

Akram Al Shawa, 43, is also anticipating his return to northern Gaza. He left to go Egypt with his wife, whose pregnancy was in danger.

“I want to go back to Gaza, because Gaza will not be built without its people, the war will not end immediately because this war is different, the end will serve Hamas and Israel,” he told The National.

He has lost his home twice, firstly during the 2014 war and again in the current war.

“Hamas is part of this nation, so they are not supposed to take the decision on behalf of it,” Mr Al Shawa added. "They must think about what people want, because they are from the nation and they are not the nation.

“All our parties have to listen to people and see what people want,” he said.

Hussain Mohammed, 37, who hopes for a return to northern Gaza, is optimistic that this time the negotiations will succeed and yield a ceasefire.

“I want to go back home, we are fed up and have no more energy for anything else.” Mr Mohammed told The National.

Mr Mohammed, who lives with his family in a tent west of Rafah, believes this is the best time to accept the deal.

"Israeli forces will invade Rafah, even if they accept the ceasefire, and our lives will not be the same any more. But I think that accepting what we have now is better than losing a lot more later," he added.

“I hope Hamas this time will think about us and to do something in our interest, we lost a lot and people don't have anything else to lose.”

Updated: May 04, 2024, 8:11 AM