Friday, February 27, 2009

40 days after war, Hamas rule of Gaza gaining legitimacy

Ha'aretz

The blow Hamas was dealt has only led to increased admiration for the group, according to opinion polls in the territories. Hamas is still waiting for another crowning achievement: if abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is released for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

As predicted: you can't bomb a people or its leaders into submission...

Cast Lead raised international hackles, because Israel lost few people to the rockets fired from Gaza, but its response caused widespread death and destruction. What's more, in Gaza the victims were Palestinians, who already bear the brunt of the tragedy of 1948; the world is much more sympathetic to them than to Syria's Bashar Assad or Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah.

The major damage Cast Lead did was in legitimizing Hamas as the ruler of the Gaza Strip, with increasing calls for "reconciliation talks" that will return the organization to the Palestinian leadership.

The operation was planned to coincide with the end of the term of the Israel-friendly President George W. Bush, before President Barack Obama entered office. But now, instead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coming to talk to Israel about the Iranian threat, her first visit in office will focus on the problems of the Palestinians in Gaza. That might be the greatest damage of all.

Don't you love it when the softly-softly Zionists at Ha'aretz speak their mind? Clinton's focusing on the Palestinians' problems, "might be the greatest damage of all"? Probably true though...

And what a few reservists think about Cast Lead:

Forty days after the end of the war in Gaza, reserve paratroop sergeant, Keren Hagigi, whose unit fought north of Gaza City, said that when the cabinet announced the end of the operation, "of course I was glad to get home to my wife and little boy, but I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that even when we were sitting in a house in Beit Lahiya, we could still see Katyushas being launched, right next to us."

But Sgt. 1st Class Amitai Ahiman added: "I think that except for getting [kidnapped soldier] Gilad Shalit back, we did the most we could. From what I saw inside [the Strip], we did attain deterrence."

Another reservist, Amir Marmor, a gunner, said he left the war ashamed. "The IDF used disproportionate power, in a kind of punishment operation."

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