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Monday, 19 January 2009

'Israeli pullout, a favor to Obama'

Israeli troops will not remain in the Gaza Strip at the cost of Tel Aviv's relations with Washington, Israeli officials say.

On the eve of the US president-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, Tel Aviv is reported to be preparing its forces for a complete withdrawal from the coastal sliver, unnamed Israeli officials were quoted by AP as saying on Monday.

The planned measure, which comes following a 23-day Israeli aggression in the area, is said to be aimed at protecting Israel's relations with the US by not putting “Obama in a difficult situation once taking office,” RIA Novosti reported.

The Israeli raids have so far killed 1,300 Palestinians, while injuring 6,000 others.

On Sunday, Tel Aviv declared a unilateral truce, and separately Hamas announced a ceasefire and gave Israeli soldiers a week to fully withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

Afterwards, the head of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet, Yuval Diskin admitted that Tel Aviv had failed to achieve its goals including disarming Hamas.

Resistance fighters comprise less than eight percent of the death toll on the Palestinian side. This while Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed Gaza citizens claiming: "We do not hate you, we did not and do not want to hurt you." More

Israeli troops to leave Gaza before Obama inauguration
The decision could be linked to Israel's desire to get off to a smooth start with the new US administration?