Pinoys in Tel Aviv cautious despite ceasefire

From a report by Danny Buenafe, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau Chief

Posted at Nov 22 2012 09:42 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2012 10:08 PM

TEL AVIV – Most Filipinos in Tel Aviv are adopting a “wait-and-see” attitude over the ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel.

“Kahit pa sabihin naming medyo safety sa aming lugar na Ramatgan, mahirap na din po na makipagsapalaran,” said overseas Filipino worker Tess Valerio Balingit.

Philippine Ambassador to Israel Gene Calonge believes the truce will hold for at least 3 days.

“Wala…not even a hint they will leave Israel,” he said.

In Takana, or the metro station where most Filipinos live, business was bad for the past 8 days.

Grocery owner Gil Matias and his wife, Ellen, have lived in Israel for more than 20 years.

Ellen says their sales quota dropped by 30%.

The ceasefire took effect at 9 p.m. last night Cairo time (3 a.m. in Manila) following a news conference called by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.

But hours before the ceasefire, Hamas wanted to make its presence felt.

A bus exploded in the heart of Israel at high noon, resulting in the injury of 16 people, 2 of them in critical condition.

Palestinian officials claimed, however, 11 died in the explosion.

No Filipino was injured in the terrorist attack, the first in Tel Aviv over the past 6 years.

The Israeli forces would not to be outdone in yesterday's final assault, initiating its heaviest bombardment of Gaza, killing 27 Palestinians. -- With Arnold Eligado; ANC