Israel has emerged the winner of the 50-day war against Hamas, which ended Tuesday with the signing of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Prime Minister Netanyahu says.
As a result of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 8, Hamas in Gaza “suffered its greatest blow since the organization’s founding,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a press conference on Wednesday.
With the signing of the ceasefire agreement on Tuesday, “Hamas did not achieve any of its demands,” said Netanyahu. “They demanded a seaport and did not achieve this; they demanded an airport and did not achieve this; they demanded the release of prisoners placed back under arrest following the murder of the three…Israeli boys; they demanded monetary compensation and salaries, which they did not receive; they demanded that negotiations be conducted by Turkey or Qatar and this they did not get.”
Hamas Suffered Serious Damage
Israel, on the other hand, achieved its goal, which was to “inflict serious damage on Hamas and the other terrorist groups and by doing so to bring extended quiet to all Israel’s citizens,” he continued.
“Hamas and the other terrorist organizations [in Gaza] were dealt a heavy blow in recent days,” added Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. “Over 1,000 terrorists were killed, including members of the military wing. We struck and destroyed armaments, including terror tunnels that had been dug for years. We set them back years…. When the dust settles Hamas will realize that it has gained no achievements.”
Abbas’s Priority: Stop the War
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged the damage in a statement released Wednesday to announce Palestinian acceptance of the ceasefire deal. Israel’s “barbaric aggression” had made it “necessary to exert all efforts, possible and impossible, towards stopping the fighting, particularly after the Israelis withdrew from the negotiations and our delegation returned and we continued our intensive efforts to resume negotiations again,” said Abbas. “Indeed, we were able…to announce our acceptance of the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, a ceasefire that runs in tandem with providing the [Gaza] Strip with humanitarian, medical, food and construction aid needed. After that, there will be talks about all the demands that will be put on the table…. Ending the fighting was the main issue that we discussed with Hamas leadership in Doha.”
Ceasefire Now; Talk Later
The conditions of this truce were no different from those included in previous ceasefire proposals, which had been accepted by Israel and rejected by the Palestinian leadership, according to Israeli officials. The ceasefire is considered open-ended in terms of a time frame, but the agreement calls for negotiations on other issues to resume within a month.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry described the agreement in a statement: “Egypt has called on the Israeli and Palestinian sides to engage in a comprehensive ceasefire, coinciding with opening the crossings between Gaza and Israel to achieve the expedited entry of humanitarian aid, materials for reconstruction, fishing into six nautical miles and the continuation of indirect negotiations between the two sides over other issues in one month from the beginning of the ceasefire.”
Author: Joanne Hill Staff Writer, United with Israel