The violence of the last few days demonstrates how fragile the situation is, and how easily it could be misjudged
Do not breathe easy yet. On Tuesday night, Hamas and other militant groups in the Gaza strip said they had accepted a ceasefire, after the worst outbreak of violence since the 2014 war. Israel said its actions would be determined by “steps on the ground”. If this does indeed ease the fighting, it will be more than welcome. But it will be at best a temporary balm. There have been warnings all year that another war – the fourth since Hamas took over in 2007 – could be on its way. The last one killed more than 2,250 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, and more than 70 Israelis, including six civilians. The wholesale destruction in Gaza left 100,000 people homeless, worsening the already dire circumstances there.
Violence has flared since Palestinians began weekly protests along the border fence with Israel in March. Israel used live fire; 170 demonstrators died and thousands more were injured. There have been sporadic rocket attacks and airstrikes. But attempts to calm the situation – with Egypt acting as broker – appeared to be paying off in recent weeks, with the restoration of fuel shipments boosting the power supply, and the delivery of $15m (£11.5m) of Qatari aid allowing Hamas to issue back pay to public servants and police officers. Hamas officials attempted to curb the intensity of the protests.
Link : The Guardian view on Gaza: the risk of war is real | Editorial