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Analysis: Israel hoping for swift, dignified end to Gaza assault

Jan. 1, 2009 9:05 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 1, 2009 9:05 P.M.)
Jerusalem - Ma'an Report - A review of recent Hebrew press indicates that despite the overwhelming assault on the Gaza Strip, Israeli military leaders want to find a way out of the war as soon as possible.

Commentators on several Hebrew-language television and radio stations noted that Israel hopes to pull out of Gaza before the images of civilian victims coming out of the besieged coastal strip spark further denunciation and criticism of Israel.

For instance, on Israeli Channel 10, military and political analysts said that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had tried on Thursday to reach an agreement, with the help of Turkey and France, to renew a ceasefire on the condition that armed groups in the Gaza Strip agree not to fire more projectiles at Israeli targets.

To justify the recent political stance of Israel's right-wing extremist community, experts in media warfare said that "Israel has enjoyed a pleasant media honeymoon during this war on Gaza due to holidays in the Western world, where government offices are closed and newspapers and satellite channels are operating on day shifts."

Nahman Shai, a media spokesperson on the Gaza operation, said he told the international media that "Israel received several days of comfortable work and long hours of transmitting in Western media outlets, where Israeli experts and leaders managed to get out their message to the world with long and open hours of transmission to explain their positions and justifications."

During last week's media propaganda, Israel relied on dubious statements that Hamas is the one that violated the truce, that it doesn't want a ceasefire, and insisting that it is only Israel that seeks an end to hostilities.

But Shai warned that Israel knows the holidays will end on Monday, when the world's journalistic staff will have the time to examine the accuracy of such statements.

And as soon as they do, the Israeli analyst noted, independent press professionals will begin to "lash Israel's back" with tough questions, particularly after the shelling of prominent Hamas leader Nizar Rayan's house on Thursday, a strike that killed him and 14 other members of his family.

***The author, Nasser Laham, is Ma'an News Agency's editor in chief. His analysis was translated and edited by the English Desk in Bethlehem.
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