Israel and Hamas have agreed to a long-term cease-fire that will halt 50 days of intense violence. But in the lead-up, Israeli forces rained destruction on Gaza as they leveled a series of high-rise buildings. It is unclear to what extent, if at all, this new tactic of bringing down large buildings contributed to the deal announced Tuesday, Aug. 26.
Early reports indicate that some restrictions on trade and travel in Gaza will be lifted and that Palestinians will be able to import large amounts of cement and other construction materials to begin a mammoth rebuilding effort. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed during the Israeli air and ground campaign. If the cease-fire holds, negotiators will reconvene next month to tackle thornier issues, such as construction of an airport in Gaza and the demilitarization of Hamas.
With widespread relief at the cessation of fighting — the streets of Gaza erupted in celebration upon news of the agreement — the recent shift in Israeli tactics is likely to be overlooked. Israel previously struck large, high-rise apartment complexes with precision munitions that left buildings standing. During the seven weeks of fighting, Gaza’s more upscale apartment and office towers were mostly spared. Their recent destruction was captured in a series of terrifying videos.
Here is the razing of Al Zafer Tower 4 in Gaza.
In a series of early-morning strikes Tuesday, Israel targeted a pair of larger towers. The video below shows the moment the 15-story Basha Tower was struck, which collapsed the building.
Here, a huge trail of debris:
The so-called Italian Complex, an upscale apartment building that was one of the nicer places to live in Gaza, was severely damaged in a separate strike.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| The Cable |