The fragile ceasefire surpasses a first day marked by the wave of sympathy towards Islamists among Palestinians
After four wars in 13 years, Hamas and Israel once again proclaimed themselves the victors after the 11-day offensive that decided to end a ceasefire early on Friday. The sensations are different on both sides of the separation fence in which the two million Gazans have been locked up for 14 years. The Islamists spoke of a “divine victory” and thousands of people took to the streets of the Strip and also gathered at dawn to celebrate the ceasefire on the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem. The green flags of the Islamist group waved in the hands of Palestinians from Gaza, Israel, East Jerusalem and even Ramallah, an unusual gesture of unity since it is the stronghold of Fatah, an enemy Palestinian faction.
Benjamin Netanyahu defined the ‘Guardian of the Walls’ operation as “exceptional success”, but leaks to the media revealed discrepancies within the security cabinet about the effectiveness of the offensive. There were no celebrations in Israel and southern communities came out of their shelters amid criticism of the prime minister for accepting a cessation of hostilities without eliminating the threat from Hamas.
The concentration on the Esplanade of the Mosques was repeated after the main prayer of the day, in which tens of thousands of faithful took part and ended with a new police assault that left dozens of injured. The crowd chanted the name of Mohamed Deif, the invisible Hamas military leader, and called for the resignation of President Mahmoud Abbas and the Mufti of Al Aqsa, whom they criticized for failing to mention the work of the Islamic movement in recent days.
Hamas looks to Jerusalem
“Gaza has defended Al Aqsa and told the world that the resistance will never give up. Furthermore, we have succeeded in destroying the project of coexistence and normalization with Israel. Our nation has awakened to unite around Jerusalem, Palestine and the resistance ”, were the words of the Hamas leader, Ismael haniya. The Islamist leader, who resides in Qatar, sent a message of thanks to Iran “for not skimping on its help.” While international diplomacy applauded Netanyahu’s decision to have declared a unilateral ceasefire, the congratulations to Hamas came from Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite militia for which this offensive “puts new rules on the table that pave the way for a next great victory.”
The price paid by Gaza to elicit this veritable wave of sympathy for Hamas among the Palestinians has been enormous. The offensive leaves at least 243 dead [The number will grow because they continue to rescue bodies from the rubble], thousands of injured, tens of thousands of displaced, more than a thousand residential units destroyed, five large office towers demolished by missiles, one of them the one that contained the offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press agency, three bombed mosques, 17 hospitals and clinics and dozens of damaged schools, serious damage to electricity and water services … «Having an even more impoverished, fenced, angry, hungry and traumatized Strip is the breeding ground perfect for this to happen again, “warned researcher Khaled Elgindy, of the Middle East Institute, in statements to The New York Times.
As Palestinians in Gaza celebrated their “victory” amid the rubble and in Jerusalem gathered by the thousands on the Esplanade of the Mosques, Netanyahu insisted that “we have achieved the objectives, it is an exceptional success” and made it clear that “Hamas can no longer hide, we have killed more than 200 terrorists, including 25 officers.” Faced with skepticism from the Israeli public opinion, the conservative leader pointed out that “the public does not know everything and neither does Hamas, but all our achievements will be revealed over time”, words that did not serve to calm critical voices. Defense Minister Benny Gantz backed the prime minister, adding that “we have dealt them a very hard blow and their capabilities have regressed to those of years ago.
Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas enters into force
Netanyahu’s words They tried to calm the spirits after the leaks to the press about the doubts in the bosom of a security cabinet where some ministers lamented “the poor information” that the Army had on the Hamas tunnels, the inability to assassinate one of the great leaders and the lack of decision to launch a ground operation capable of neutralizing the launching of rockets and mortars. The factions launched 4,360 rockets and mortars, according to data from an Army that revealed that they attacked 1,500 targets.
“The balance is disappointing”says Amos Harel, a columnist for the daily Haaretz, who criticized Netanyahu’s attempt to justify the ceasefire in Army reports when “the operation ended only because the White House lost patience.” Joe Biden’s direct intervention and his four calls to the prime minister were decisive for the Israelis to decide to stop the bombing and showed that things have changed compared to the Trump era.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas, Israel, Jerusalem, Gaza, Palestine