Israelis skeptical of PM Gaza victory claim

Jersusalem - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claim that Israel achieved a "great military and political" victory over Hamas in the latest round of fighting in the Gaza Strip has met with scepticism from many Israelis, according to a poll published Thursday.

The poll, published in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, shows that 54% of those surveyed believe there was no clear winner in the 50 days of war.

The fighting killed 2 143 Palestinians, most of them civilians, according to Palestinian health officials and UN officials. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers, five civilians and a Thai worker were killed.

The poll underscores the unease pervading Israeli society after the third round of fighting between Israel and Gaza-based Islamic militants in the seven years since Hamas took control of the densely populated coastal strip.

Ambiguous interim agreement 

Some of Netanyahu's detractors, including ministers in his own government like veteran security hawk Uzi Landau, believe that the prime minister and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon did not go far enough in pursuing the war, insisting that they should not have stopped until Hamas was destroyed or pleaded for peace.

Others, particularly residents of hard-hit agricultural communities abutting the Gaza border, fear that without a clear political roadmap for the Palestinian territory's future, a resumption of the rocket and mortar fire that caused such considerable disruption to their lives for most of the summer is not so much a question of if, but rather of when.

Still, calm has prevailed since the two sides agreed on Tuesday to an open-ended truce, settling for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange.

Hamas, though badly battered, remains in control of Gaza with part of its military arsenal intact. Israel and Egypt are to continue to control access to the blockaded coastal strip despite Hamas' long-running demand that the border closures imposed in 2007 be lifted.

'Sense of sourness'

A former director of Israel's Shin Bet security service, Yuval Diskin, said the war's results "were disappointing and were accompanied by what some have described as a sense of sourness."

"The cease-fire that was achieved with Hamas has left the Israeli public frustrated," Diskin wrote in a commentary published in the popular Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Thursday.

The Haaretz poll questioned 464 Israelis on Wednesday and had a margin of error of 4.6%. While 54% said there was no clear-cut winner, some 25% of respondents said Israel had won the war, while 1% believed Hamas had prevailed.

The remaining 5% of those surveyed were undecided. The paper did not say how the survey was conducted.

Later that night in a nationally televised speech, Netanyahu said that Israel had dealt Hamas "a heavy blow."

"With the implementation of the cease-fire, I can say that there is a great military and political achievement here for the State of Israel," Netanyahu said. "Hamas was hit hard and it received not one of the demands it set forth for a cease-fire, not one."

Netanyahu also said Israel "will not tolerate" any more of the Hamas rocket fire that started the war on 8 July, and would respond "even harder" if attacks resume.

- AP
Yazeed Isaacs 2014-08-28 02:38:30 PM
Lol. Just look at this guys face in the image above. He definitely has that evil Hilter, De Klerk, PW Botha look. Nobody likes that. Well maybe just the minority that post hate comments here. You know who you are. Its just makes sense. ;)
Andre James 2014-08-28 02:49:09 PM
Eyes of a killer
Alain Nathan 2014-08-28 03:26:44 PM
5 bucks says Hamas breaks ceasefire
Pieter Graaf 2014-08-28 04:05:03 PM
Ai tog
Jason Jaded 2014-08-28 05:56:13 PM
To anyone with half a brain, it's quite clear that neither side won! Hamas made their usual racket to remind the world that Gaza (and the West Bank) is still suffering under oppression and occupation, while Israel merely obliged and went about "mowing the lawn" as they always do. And as ever, the leaders on both sides are trying to come out as heroes and smelling like roses, while simultaneously trying to justify the atrocities and war crimes committed by both sides. As for Netanayahu, his approval rating at home has just plummeted to an all time low (38%), so he'll soon return to his tried and trusted fallback position to win back that support in a vain attempt to keep his deeply fractured and already faulting coalition government in power. The very same fallback position as every PM that has gone before him... 1.) Selling fear to the population 2.) Pumping more money into an already over bloated military budget 3.) Funneling unlimited resources into the ever expanding illegal Settlements. Ultimately, blowing just a little more hot air into the Zionist bubble which is already at bursting point.