Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Gaza ceasefire broken with Hamas rockets

Posted by claudiacampli su 18 gennaio, 2009


Hamas fired rockets into southern Israel this morning, defying the Jewish state to abandon the unilateral ceasefire it had declared just hours earlier.

The militant Palestinian group sent at least five rockets arcing towards the border town of Sderot and said it would not stop fighting until all Israeli troops had left the Gaza Strip.

Israeli aircraft swiftly destroyed the rocket-launching site. Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister, said the ceasefire was fragile and being reassessed on a “minute by minute basis”.

Israel’s security cabinet approved the unilateral ceasefire by seven votes to two on Saturday night, with one abstention. In a televised statement after the vote, Mr Olmert said that the troops would remain in Gaza until Hamas’s response became clear, and pledged to respond harshly to any further acts of aggression.

By firing more rockets, Hamas sought to demonstrate that it had not been defeated by Israel’s three-week-long offensive. By defying the ceasefire, however, it is giving Israel an opportunity to resume that offensive with greater legitimacy and international understanding than it had previously.

Later today, Egypt will host a summit of regional and European leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh that will explore ways to bolster the ceasefire. Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, is expected to attend.

The ceasefire announcement is receiving mixed reviews in Israel. Mr Olmert argued that Israel had more than achieved the goals of Operation Cast Lead. Hamas had been “badly beaten” and its ability to attack Israel severely damaged, he said.

Other officials said Israel had re-established the principle of deterrence following its botched operation against Hezbollah in south Lebanon in 2006, and sent a powerful warning to Iran, Hezbollah and other regional enemies which support Hamas. They said Israel had achieved understandings that Egypt, the United States and European nations would try to stop Hamas re-arming with weapons smuggled in through tunnels beneath Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. It had also stopped the fighting before Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday.

But members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, which looks set to win Israel’s general election on February 10, criticised the unilateral ceasefire – particularly the lack of Egyptian guarantees to stop the smuggling.

“I fear that the main objectives of the IDF operation in Gaza have not been met,” said Yuval Steinitz, a Likud MP. “It is not clear what mechanism will prevent the arms smuggling into Gaza or why we can rely on Egypt.”

Residents of towns within range of Hamas rockets expressed unhappiness. “All these years we asked for a ground offensive, and now of all times, when we’re close to victory, they stop it,” complained Alon Davidi, founder of the Committee for a Secure Sderot. “Unfortunately we are once again forced to rely on Egypt and other countries in order to prevent the smuggling and the firing towards us.”

There was also criticism of the Israeli government’s failure to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, the soldier captured by Palestinian militants in 2006 while, more broadly, Israel’s overwhelming use of force against one of the world’s most densely-populated territories has badly damaged its international standing.

More than 1,200 Palestinians have been killed – half of them women and children. Another 5,000 have been wounded, around 100,000 have been forced from their homes, and Israeli shells have hit schools, hospitals and shelters. Hamas has used civilians as human shields, but UN officials and human rights experts want Israeli leaders investigated for possible war crimes.

Hamas’ much-vaunted defences against Israeli troops proved useless, and its fighters have killed just six Israeli soldiers. Despite that, the Islamist group remains in control of Gaza, boasts that it has resisted the region’s strongest military for three weeks without capitulating, and is still firing rockets into Israel.



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