Gaza Cease-Fire Deal Was Prefaced by a New Kind of Destruction

Gaza Cease-Fire Deal Was Prefaced by a New Kind of Destruction

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.