Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

Gaza faces scenes of destruction as Israel withdraws

Posted by claudiacampli su 19 gennaio, 2009

Times


The scale of the destruction incurred by the 1.5 million residents of Gaza during the 22-day Israel-Hamas war was becoming clear today, as Israeli troops continued their withdrawal from the territory following yesterday’s ceasefire.

As tanks and soldiers gradually pulled out of the teeming Strip following their operation to counter rockets fired by the Islamists, bulldozers started clearing rubble from streets in the territory and residents emerged from their homes to witness the damage around them.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, more than 22,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed and the total repair bill will cost at least $1.9 billion. A UN report, meanwhile, said that more than 50,000 displaced people have been left crowded into 50 emergency shelters – mostly in unused schools. Some 400,000 Gazans have no access to running water, the agency added.

But despite the losses incurred, Hamas’s armed wing claimed that it had lost only 48 fighters during the 22-day conflict and vowed to fight on unless Israeli forces withdrew fully following yesterday’s unilateral ceasefires declared by both sides. “We announce to our people the martyrdom of 48 Qassam fighters,” Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said in a televised press conference.

Israel reported killing more than 500 Hamas members during Operation Cast Lead, which it launched on Gaza on December 27. Doctors in Gaza say more than 1,300 Palestinians have died.

Abu Obeida also claimed that Israel lost “at least 80 soldiers” in the fighting. Israel lists 10 soldiers killed. He also repeated the “victory” cry declared by Hamas leaders as the guns fell silent yesterday. “We have given the Zionist enemy one week to pull out of the Gaza Strip, failing which we will pursue the resistance,” he said.

“Our arsenal of rockets has not been affected and we continued to fire them during the war without interruption. We are still able to launch them and, thanks be to God, our rockets will strike other targets (in Israel).”

Abu Obeida listed the projectiles Hamas fired at Israel during the war as 345 Qassam rockets, 213 Grad rockets and 422 mortar shells.

Although there were sporadic salvoes fired from Gaza yesterday, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared his country’s military mission accomplished – noting a flurry of diplomatic efforts by the United States, Egypt and European countries to prevent Hamas rearming. That would mean the development of unspecified measures to stop Hamas smuggling weapons across the Egypt-Gaza frontier – a sensitive matter given Cairo’s past efforts to play down its scope.

“Do whatever you want, bringing in and manufacturing the holy weapons is our mission, and we know how to acquire weapons,” he said.

But the most pressing problem for many Gaza residents today is a lack of cash to buy supplies, especially since the price of most foodstuffs has risen sharply, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report published. “The issue of cash remains of high priority. Cash has still not entered the Gaza Strip and is urgently needed,” the OCHA said.

“A system must be established that ensures the regular and predictable monthly transfer of the necessary cash – not only for the international organisations to be able to deliver much needed humanitarian assistance, but also in order to pay the salaries of PA [Palestinian Authority] personnel. Without a functioning bank system in Gaza, recovery efforts will be vastly undermined,” it said.

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