DOHA, Qatar — Qatar, a key backer of Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, hailed the Gaza ceasefire accord and offered to help rebuild the enclave battered by seven weeks of Israeli bombardment in response to rocket fire emanating from the Strip.
The accord for a long-term ceasefire which came into effect on Tuesday was thanks “firstly to the resistance and the sacrifices” of the Palestinians, the gas-rich Gulf emirate said in a statement.
It said Qatar, which is home to Khaled Mashaal, the political chief of the Islamist movement Hamas, was “ready to contribute to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip as soon as possible,”
The conflict, which began on July 8 when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in a bid to stamp out cross-border rocket fire, cost the lives of 2,143 Palestinians, according to health sources in the Hamas-run Strip. Some 750-1,000 of the fatalities were Hamas fighters and other gunmen, according to Israel.
Israel also blames Hamas tactics, such as firing from civilian centers and using “human shields,” for all civilian fatalities, since Hamas set up its rocket-launchers, tunnel openings and other elements of its war machine in Gaza neighborhoods and uses Gazans as “human shields.” Israel lost 64 soldiers and six civilians during the conflict.
The Egyptian-mediated deal ending a war which wreaked widespread destruction in Gaza reportedly calls for an easing of Israel’s eight-year blockade of the coastal strip, a key Palestinian demand in truce talks.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.