JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to defend his decision to end hostilities in Gaza after a public and political backlash in which he was even dubbed a ‘loser’ by his own troops.
Both Israel and Hamas claimed victory after a ceasefire brokered by Egypt and the United States brought an end to the week-long bombardment over the Gaza border.
Netanyahu, however, faced allegations that he had boosted the popularity of Hamas without achieving his military goals.
“Deterrence was not restored,” Shaul Mofaz, head of the centre-right Kadima party, rival to Netanyahu’s Likud, said.
“There was no resolution. Hamas achieved exactly what it wanted,” he said, adding: “There is no security for the residents of southern Israel and of central Israel.”
According to the Telegraph, Netanyahu’s handling of the operation was, however, praised by security experts who said it had achieved the limited objectives that the prime minister had set down.
“There was no decisive victory here,” Giora Eiland, a former National Security Adviser, said, adding: “But the situation was managed in the right way and it was clear that Israel enjoyed certain international support”.
But there were protests in the southern towns that bore the brunt of the almost 1,500 rockets fired by Hamas and other militant groups – almost exactly the same number as Israel fired, the report said.
“We’ve suffered for eight days and we can suffer for two weeks if they can put an end to it once and for all,” Ziva Shmuelov, a resident of the desert town of Beersheva, which was pelted with hundreds of rockets during the conflict, told Ynet News.
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