Gazans clean up as truce with Israel holds

2012-11-22 12:04
Palestinians celebrate the Israel-Hamas cease-fire in Gaza City. (Bernat Armangue, AP)

Palestinians celebrate the Israel-Hamas cease-fire in Gaza City. (Bernat Armangue, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Gaza City — Gaza residents cleared rubble and claimed victory on Thursday, just hours after an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers ended the worst cross-border fighting in four years.

The cease-fire announcement had set off frenzied late night street celebrations in the coastal strip, and raised hopes of a new era in relations between Israel and Hamas. The two sides are now to negotiate a deal that would open the borders of the blockaded Palestinian territory.

"Today is different, the morning coffee tastes different and I feel we are off to a new start," said Ashraf Diaa, a 38-year-old engineer from Gaza City.

However, the vague language in the agreement and deep hostility between the combatants made it far from certain that the bloodshed would end.

Israel launched the offensive on 14 November to halt renewed rocket fire from Gaza, unleashing around 1 500 airstrikes on Hamas-linked targets, while Hamas and other Gaza militant groups showered Israel with hundreds of rockets.

It was the worst fighting since an Israeli invasion of Gaza four years ago.

Victory despite cost

The eight days of relentless strikes killed 161 Palestinians, including 71 civilians, and five Israelis. Israel also destroyed key symbols of Hamas power, such as the prime minister's office, along with rocket launching sites and Gaza police stations.

Despite the high human cost, Hamas claimed victory on Thursday.

"The masses that took to the streets last night to celebrate sent a message to all the world that Gaza can't be defeated," said a spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri.

While it is far from certain that Hamas will be able to pry open Gaza's borders in upcoming talks, the latest round of fighting has brought the Islamists unprecedented political recognition in the region.

During the past week, Gaza became a magnet for visiting foreign ministers from Turkey and several Arab states — a sharp contrast to Hamas' isolation in the past.

Israel and the United States, even while formally sticking to a policy of shunning Hamas, also acknowledged the militant group's central role by engaging in indirect negotiations with the Islamists. Israel and the West consider Hamas, which seized Gaza by force in 2007, to be a terrorist organisation.

Reservists still at border

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, meanwhile, defended his decision not to launch a ground offensive, in contrast to Israel's invasion of Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009.

"You don't get into military adventures on a whim, and certainly not based on the mood of the public, which can turn the first time an armoured personnel carrier rolls over or an explosive device is detonated against forces on the ground," he told Israel Army Radio.

"The world's mood also can turn," he said, referring to warnings by the US and Israel's other Western allies of the high cost of a ground offensive.

However, with the cease-fire just a few hours old, Israel was not rushing to bring home all of the thousands of reservists it had ordered to the Gaza border in the event of a ground invasion, Barak said.

Barak was defence minister during Israel's previous major military campaign against Hamas, which drew widespread international criticism and claims of war crimes.

The mood in Israel was mixed, with some grateful that quiet had been restored without a ground operation that could have cost the lives of soldiers.

Others — particular those in southern Israel who have endured 13 years of rocket fire — thought the operation was abandoned too quickly and without guaranteeing their security.

- AP
Read more on:    hamas  |  ehud barak  |  israel  |  gaza strip  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
39 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is one of those days where the more positive and optimistic you are the more opportunities you seem to attract....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.