Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gaza War. What was it Good For? Absolutely Nothing

Gaza is not obliterated, but has emerged from three weeks of assault damaged and dismayed. As bodies get dug out, the wounded die or recover, the destruction still has to be tallied up. Rebuilding the Gaza Strip will take years and billions of dollars, and the youth who are not traumatized will be radicalized. The reputation of the Israeli army has taken some serious hits, too.
(Photo by Tyler Hicks, NYT)

So were there any winners or losers?, asks Patrick Cockburn of the Independent

What was Hamas's aim? Rocket attacks intended to force Israel to end blockade that has trapped 1.5m Palestinians inside Gaza Strip since Hamas takeover. Hamas also seeking recognition by West

What happened? Security arrangements are to be imposed on Hamas and no ceasefire agreement has been signed with the Islamists

Did they succeed? No.

What was Israel's aim? Gaza offensive launched to "teach Hamas a lesson". Some Israeli politicians called for overthrow of Hamas, while contenders in next month's election sought improved ratings

What happened? The majority of the estimated 20,000 Hamas fighters escaped with their lives. Hamas rockets were still being fired at the end of Israeli offensive when Israel declared unilateral ceasefire

Did they succeed? No.

What was Egypt's aim? To secure end to offensive through ceasefire agreement leading to truce, border security, reopening of crossings, Israeli troop withdrawal and Palestinian reconciliation

What happened? US negotiated separate deal with Israel on arms smuggling. Hamas set its own truce conditions and refused reconciliation with Fatah. Egyptian mediation deepened split between moderate Arab states and others

Did they succeed? No.

What was the EU's aim? To profit from power vacuum in US and play lead negotiating role. To map out road to peace and promise support for Palestinian leadership afterwards

What happened? Plethora of negotiators undermined EU credibility as didthe incompetence of Czech EU presidency

Did they succeed? No.

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