GAZA STRIP – If you thought a 72-hour cease-fire between Israel and Gaza seemed too good to be true, you were right.
Less than two hours in the temporary truce completely unraveled — though if you want to know the exact details of how it happened…well, good luck.
Israel’s leaders say the cease-fire was violated when two Israeli solders were killed and one abducted in a tunnel attack by Hamas.
“We’ve had a whole series of violations of the cease-fire and once again Hamas has broken commitments it made both to the United Nations and through intermediaries to the United States government,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said.
Meanwhile – surprise! – those in Gaza tell a different story, claiming shelling by Israel reignited the fighting.
“We informed the United Nations, they violated the cease-fire,” Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan said. “We are still committed, but we will defend our people if they continue that.”
President Obama also stepped into the fray, expressing concern over casualties and demanding the return of the missing Israeli soldier.
“If they are serious about trying to resolve this situation,” he said, “that soldier needs to be unconditionally released, as soon as possible.”
Amid all the finger-pointing, one thing is certain — the loss of life in this conflict is staggering.
Close to 1500 people killed, many of whom were civilians.
Sadly, with the swift end of this latest cease-fire, peace in the region seems to be falling further out of reach.