Another Brief Gaza War is Over: What’s Next?

Thursday morning’s media reports from all over Israel reflected mixed feelings, with the start of a ceasefire that ended 8 days of violence between Israel and Gaza.

Residents of Ashkelon (a southern port city within range of Hamas rockets) told Israel Radio that they wish the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) had continued to pound Hamas — to weaken the enemy even more.

The defense minister, Ehud Barak, said the government is well aware that there’s still a possibility that the IDF will have to roll into Gaza.  But he favored the ceasefire at this point, when weighing all the factors.  As for the claim that the Hamas faction made major gains — practically being recognized as rulers of an independent state, when they negotiated with Egypt and had contact with other governments — Barak scoffed: “Oh, the last ceasefire [in 2009] was handwritten; this one was printed — that’s an achievement?”

Israel’s military and intelligence agencies are preparing, of course, for the next round — which most Israelis feel will occur at some point.  Political leaders in Jerusalem (see below) congratulated the intelligence agencies for a job well done in the Gaza conflict that just ended.

Both sides — and a host of independent observers, including civilians living in Israel and in Gaza — told the story on websites and social networking tools such as Twitter.  At around 1:50 a.m. Middle East time Thursday, the Israel Defense Forces tweeted a message and a list of accomplishments the IDF is claiming:

IDF@IDFSpokesperson  After eight days of fighting, the IDF has ended Operation Pillar of Defense.

November 23, 2012

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