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Monday, 19 January 2009

'Vague Israeli hope shattered in Gaza'

Israel failed to weaken the Hamas movement in Gaza during its military aggression against the impoverished strip, a report says.

"What is clear is that, despite vague Israeli hopes that Hamas could be completely removed, that has not happened," a news analysis by The New Times says.

Tel Aviv waged an "all-out" war on Hamas by launching massive attacks against the densely-populated Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008.

At least 1,300 Palestinians were killed during the offensive, while some 5,400 others were wounded.

According to the Gaza-based Palestinian center for human rights, only 95 resistance fighters were among the casualties of the 23-day war.

The aim of the operation, according to Israeli officials, was to put an end to rocket attacks launched from the region against southern Israel as well as weakening the Palestinian movement. Some officials even went as far as to say that the main objective was to topple Hamas and remove the group from Gaza.

Hamas is the democratically-elected ruler of the coastal sliver, which has been under an 18-month Israeli blockade since the group took over the strip.

Hamas demands a cessation of the embargo before its fighters suspend rocket attacks.

Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli raid against Gaza, was officially halted on January 18 after Tel Aviv announced a unilateral ceasefire.

Hamas accepted the truce and gave Israeli troops one week to leave Gaza before a permanent ceasefire could be discussed.

According to the Times report, much of Hamas's "manpower remains, mostly because it made a point of fighting at a distance -- or not at all -- whenever possible despite the fury of the Israeli advance and bombardment."

A top Israeli military official was quoted as admitting that the resistance group is "the dominant organization in Gaza."

"They are the regime and feel very connected to the people. They do not want to lose that connection to the people," said the official on condition of anonymity. PressTV

Ceasefire shows Israel's defeat in Gaza