Gazans clean up as truce with Israel holds

2012-11-22 12:04

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.

  • matusowsky - 2012-11-22 12:17

    The truce that came about because they started violent attacks against Israel is considered a victory? I'd say it's a bloody failure of their own policy (destruction of Israel and the like). This was an Israeli victory if anything at all. Israel got the aggressors to stop firing rockets at their people, thus stopping the need for airstrikes against Hamas militant terrorists. Go Israel :)!

      neutedop.opinie - 2012-11-22 12:35

      Like I said earlier, if 2900% more casualties sounds like a victory to them, then it just show how little they care for their own people......just take a look at Syria, and how quite they've been about that.

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-11-22 13:01

      The Gazans aint the brightest people at all. In fact they are super daft to believe they had won in any way. The opposite happened as BiBi showed the World that he would give the peace option yet another chance and thus won the moral high ground. Go Israel!

      lucy.bush.9231 - 2012-11-22 13:01

      Dear God, Let the peace continue....Amen

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-22 16:44

      Israel was created in 1948 from 52% of the land formerly occupied by the Jewish and Palestinian people, and Palestine 43%. Most of the Israeli territory was the Negev Desert. Jerusalem fell into neither territory. Palestinians with their unelected, self-serving neighbors declared war on Israel the very next day. In the 1960's they even invaded Israel twice. Full military invasions. The result: Israel survived and pushed them back, gaining territory in the process. This is the origin of what you wrongly call "stealing land". There have been almost daily attacks by Palestinians, incited by their self-serving unelected backers. Palestinians even teach their children at Kindergarten to attack Israel, rather than be peaceful. Children. Kindergarten. From day one, and even today it's wage war on Israel. Israel defends herself. Yes sometimes going too far, which is unacceptable, but self-defense nonetheless. All that needs to happen is for Palestinians to choose peace side by side with Israel. This is more likely going forward now because the unelected dictators are being removed from power by their people, one by one. They will no longer use the Palestinians for their own internal political ploys.

  • tom.carrington.395 - 2012-11-22 12:18

    Obviously Hamas claims victory, now they will have time to rearm and booby-trap the whole of Gaza, the ceasefire won’t hold for very long

      aadil.ben.3 - 2012-11-22 13:53

      Correct the ceasefire won't last long for as long as the muslims still want to pray in masjid al aqsa the zionists will not rest....

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-22 16:45

      Aadil, you have a massive chip on your shoulder.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-22 18:26

      Imagine a man who drives a Mini and another who drives a large lorry – let’s call them Aadil and Avi. Now imagine that Aadil hates Avi – really hates him. One day, Aadil can’t restrain himself any longer and drives his Mini full-tilt into the back of Avi’s lorry: Kerprangg!!! Of course, the Mini is totalled, while some limited damage is sustained by the lorry. Aadil now totters, bleeding from multiple injuries, from the wreck of his vehicle and commences taunting Avi: “Nyaaaa! Look what I’ve done to your lorry! Nyaaaa!!”

  • matthew.keegan.71 - 2012-11-22 12:21

    The more you read about how Gaza citizens are claiming "victory", the more you wonder whether the mindset of those living in Gaza revolves more around the destruction of Israel than the well-being of their children.

  • peanutcluster - 2012-11-22 12:56

    The Jewish settlers from Eastern Europe can kill as many Palestinians as they wish - it won't change the fact that history does not favour the settlers in this case. They may as well have tried to set up a homeland in China! THERE'S NO WAY THE ARABS WILL EVER ACCEPT AN EASTERN EUROPEAN SETTLER RULED ENCLAVE IN THE ARAB LANDS PERIOD! The carnage will continue and eventually Israel will cave in. Tens years, 20 years.........

      mark.russell.7370013 - 2012-11-22 13:04

      Israel will never surrender, they will never fold and they will never be destroyed.

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-11-22 13:06

      peanutcutter, Moses, wasn't he jewish?

      peanutcluster - 2012-11-22 13:31

      Adam - Jews lived happily alongside their Arab cousins for centuries. The persecution of Jews is the story of Europe, not the Arab / Muslim world. Every Israeli PM since its inception with the exception of Netanyahu was born in Russia, Lithuania, Poland or elsewhere in Russia. The Jews who fled persecution in Europe and who sought refuge in Palestine were welcomed by the Arabs. Little did the naive Arabs know or realise that the leaders of these refugees had grand colonial plans to usurp the land the Palestinians were living on for centuries! The rest is history! Now back today and tomorrow - Eastern European settlers have no place ruling an enclave in the heart of the Arab lands - this is doomed to fail!

      peanutcluster - 2012-11-22 14:33

      And the apartheid regime also thought it would last forever...!

      dinesh.chetty.77 - 2012-11-22 14:34

      The invader is always wrong.

      cleve.fletcher - 2012-11-22 15:14

      @adam.jackson.18007 - Stop trying to confuse them with facts Adam.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-22 16:46

      Peanutcluster makes up his own version of history to support his own racist prejudices. What a waste of time and waste of a life.

  • tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-11-22 13:00

    My definition of victory definitely differs from the Hamas one. It's like loosing you queen and chess and then say it was all part of the plan.

      Yaseen Toyboy Damon - 2012-11-22 13:18

      theres always been palestinians getting killed... its part of their daily life, getting killed is part of their sacrifice so that their fam members, friends and children would eventually taste freedom... alot of palestinians died... what u dont see is the long game they are playing at... the truce will lead to the blockade on gaza being lifted = a little more freedom... what has israel gained from this? the sacrifice of a hamas leader and lots of women and children? hamas has others leaders to step up... but what hamas gained from this is support from egypt and other arab states, recognition from the rest of the world... the blockade being lifted (soon) which means more support, weapons and help from the egyptian border ... so if u compare the two?

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-11-22 13:27

      In other words what you are saying, the life of a child is worth less than the game they are playing. Also, "which means more support, WEAPONS and help from the egyptian border" reveals your agenda.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-22 18:09

      Has Yaseen said and done anything about the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of innocent people, mainly Muslims, being slaughtered and maimed by the unelected dictators and Jihadists in his midsts?

  • lydonmcg - 2012-11-22 13:06

    Victory? Lol. Israel could blow them to kingdom come if they were cowardly enough to start specifically targeting civilians without warning.

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-11-22 13:13

    At last an education systems worst than ours - stupid palestinians claiming something that is clearly not theirs

  • bob.paige.7 - 2012-11-22 14:17

    The only reason the ceasefire has held is because of Israel's reluctance to fire back at Hamas. Over 5 rockets have hit Southern Israel since the truce was called. Hamas believes the definition of ceasefire is: Israel ceases and we fire

  • werner.bambi.1 - 2012-11-22 14:37

    Hamas claiming victory ha ha ha!!! What a joke 161 to 5 it is the other way around dummies

  • pages:
  • 1