Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

‘Israel has achieved nothing from this’

Posted by Alessandro Accorsi su 19 gennaio, 2009

Paul Woodward

The National – UAE

With both Israel and Hamas declaring victory in the war on Gaza and with each independently calling for a ceasefire, the focus of international attention has turned to the consolidation of the ceasefire and the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza.

Israel intends to complete its withdrawal from Gaza prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration as the new US president on Tuesday, Ynet reported.

On Sunday, European and Arab leaders gathered for a summit at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where their efforts were focused on consolidating the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and preventing arms being smuggled into Gaza.

“Israel must allow full access to humanitarian workers, and to relief supplies. We must also end Gaza’s economic isolation by reopening the crossings that link it to the outside world,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.

The Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reiterated the need that, “the crossings are reopened and the siege on Gaza is lifted.”

In Jerusalem, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman, Mark Regev, offered hope that crossings into Gaza would open if the truce persists:

“If this ceasefire holds, and I hope it does, you’ll see the crossings open to an enormous amount of humanitarian support,” he said.

“Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan criticised world leaders for leaving Hamas out of the peace process, saying it was a democratically elected political party,” Reuters reported.

“He also warned that the situation in Gaza could take on a very different dimension if ‘Western countries’ did not show appropriate sensitivity toward Hamas.

” ‘This political party Hamas won an election with nearly 75 per cent of the vote. The West, which has shown no respect for this embracing of democracy, is responsible for this situation,’ Erdogan told a news conference.”

In response to the question of whether the president, Mahmoud Abbas, might be reinstated in Gaza, the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, told Reuters that Abbas’s presence in Gaza could be reasserted only by forming a unity government approved by all factions, including Hamas, that would run both the West Bank and Gaza.

“A new unity government would be the first important step towards full national reconciliation,” Mr Fayyad said.

In Israel the leading contender in the upcoming elections offered his opponents faint praise.

“The IDF has dealt Hamas a severe blow, but unfortunately the job has not been completed,” Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

“Hamas still controls Gaza and will continue to smuggle improved rockets through the Philadelphi route (along the border with Egypt),” he said. “We cannot show any weakness in the face of the Iranian-backed Hamas terror and must act with an iron fist to defeat the enemy.”

Israel’s security chief, Yuval Diskin, said on Sunday that despite Israel’s bombing many tunnels Hamas would resume smuggling arms into Gaza within a few months.

The reconstruction of Gaza will require a massive undertaking.

Ynet reported: “Rafik al-Husseini, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, estimated several days ago that the damage amounts to $2 billion.

“Another estimate, by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics puts the damage at $1.5 billion: The direct damage suffered by the Strip’s residents is estimated at $400 million, while the damage to infrastructures is estimated at $1 billion.

“According to this estimate, some 20,000 buildings have been damaged in the Strip so far (15 per cent of the structures), some destroyed completely and some partially damaged.

“About 26,000 Palestinians are no longer living in their homes and are centred in 31 large United Nations shelters. Some of these refugees have no house to return to.

“Loai Shabana, director of the Palestinian Central Bureau Statistics, added that on the eve of the Israeli offensive the unemployment rate in Gaza had reached 42 per cent of the workforce (some 120,000 people). But now, he said, in light of the fighting, the unemployment rate may exceed 60 per cent.

“According to Shabana, various economic facilities, including factories and offices, were directly hit during the fighting. He added that the Gaza Strip lost 80 per cent of its national product throughout the days of fighting.”

In Rafah, Inigo Gilmore spoke to some of the war’s survivors.

“Along a row of shattered houses a veiled woman sat in a chair surrounded by broken pieces of furniture and concrete. She waved towards the sandwiched layers of flattened concrete where her six-storey home once stood. ‘When Israel does this it just makes us stronger,’ she said. ‘We have even more sympathy with Hamas now.’

“It was a message that several people delivered as I wandered around Rafah, surveying the holes gouged from the ground where tunnels once burrowed their way under the nearby Egyptian border. Israel says the tunnels are used to smuggle weapons into Gaza, and the locals do not deny this. But they also point out that the Israeli bombs have wiped out entire neighbourhoods in densely populated rows of houses.

“Glancing over the wasteland, one man said: ‘Israel has achieved nothing from this’.

Israelis expressed their own ambivalence about the war.

The Guardian said: “Talk of victory was scant in Israel today after the government’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza. ‘The decision was terrible,’ said Shimon, a 55-year-old from Ra’anana, a town in Israel’s interior. ‘We should carry on fighting until Hamas is devastated.’

“Overwhelmingly, the Israeli Jewish public supports the country’s assault on Gaza. But while the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, described the three-week war as a ‘brilliant’ achievement of Israel’s objectives, the public does not seem as certain. ‘I hope we will succeed in halting the rockets, but I think the ceasefire was a little premature,’ said Avot Yitzhak, 48, from Tel Aviv. ‘They should have continued, to show [Hamas] that they really have lost.’

“Some people expressed ambivalence, best articulated by one presenter on Israeli Army Radio who said: ‘Did we achieve our objectives? Who knows, but let’s thank God it’s over.’ ”

In a commentary on the wider implications of the war, Alastair Crooke wrote: “The 22-day war has changed the parameters in the region: it has produced an unparalleled, overt challenge to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the formal structures of Arab political power. The Doha informal meeting of heads of state on Friday gave legitimacy to the Palestinian resistance movements, called for direct action to isolate Israel and pronounced the Arab initiative to normalise relations with Israel in return for withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 to be ‘dead’.

“None of these decisions has any formal status, but they represent a striking and open attack on the Egyptian and Saudi claims of primacy over Palestinian affairs. It heralds the beginning of a bitter struggle of the Doha-Syria axis versus the Saudi-Egyptian alliance for control over the future of the region.

“Mubarak struck back: on Sunday, in a summit held in Egypt, and attended by the UN secretary general and European leaders, Mubarak was back in the chair. It was Israel and the US who were absent. This is likely to infuriate the Israelis, as Mubarak no doubt intends, but the internationalising of the Gaza ceasefire will also complicate an already fragile situation.

“All of these separate initiatives – Israeli, American and Egyptian – have as a primary aim an agreement from which one of the main protagonists, Hamas, is excluded. None of this bodes well. It resembles the choreography for a further round of conflict.”





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