Israel and Hamas both claim victory as fragile ceasefire takes hold
Islam News- Israel and Hamas both claimed victory on Friday after their forces ended 11 days of fighting, but a clash between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem underscored the fragility of the truce.
Egypt, which mediated the pre-dawn end to the worst hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians in years, discussed measures to avoid a resumption of the militant rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel and Israeli strikes on the enclave.
The Gaza violence was set off on May 10 in part by Israeli police raids on the al-Aqsa mosque compound and clashes with Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Thousands gathered there again for this Friday’s prayers, with many staying on to demonstrate in support of Gaza.
The confrontations died down within about an hour, with Israeli police pulling back to the compound’s gates.
Egypt said it would send two delegations to monitor the truce, which began at 2 a.m. (2300 GMT), as the warring parties said they were ready to retaliate for any violations.
‘WE RETURNED AND FOUND NOTHING’
Civilians on both sides of the front line were sceptical.
“What is truce? What does it mean?” said Samira Abdallah Naseer, a mother of 11 children sitting near the wreckage of a building near Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip.
“We returned to our houses, and we found no place to sit, no water, no electricity, no mattresses, nothing,” she said.
In a cafe in the Israeli port city of Ashdod, north of Gaza, student Dan Kiri, 25, said Israel should continue attacking Hamas until it collapsed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation had damaged the ability of Hamas, the Islamist group which runs Gaza, to launch missiles at Israel.
Netanyahu said the Israeli military had attacked and destroyed Hamas’s extensive tunnel network in Gaza, its rocket factories, weapons laboratories and storage facilities, and killed more than 200 militants, including 25 senior figures.
“Hamas can’t hide anymore. That’s a great achievement for Israel,” he said in a televised address. “We eliminated an important part of Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s command echelon. And whoever was not killed knows today that our long arm can reach him anywhere, above ground or underground.”
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh cast the fighting as successful resistance to a militarily and economically stronger foe, and said it would recoup lost military capabilities.
“We will rebuild what the occupation (Israel) destroyed and restore our capabilities, and we will not abandon our obligations and duties to the families of martyrs, the wounded and those whose homes were destroyed,” he said.
Source : Reuters