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50 days of war in Gaza likely to cost Israel dearly
Published Friday 29/08/2014 (updated) 30/08/2014 14:03
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A Palestinian family walks on August 27, 2014 past the collapsed
remains of a building in Shujaiyeh.(AFP/File Roberto Schmidt)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel may be painting a victorious picture of the war in Gaza, but 50 days of fighting looks set to cost it dearly on the political, economic and diplomatic fronts.

Under attack by hawks in his cabinet for accepting a ceasefire which ended the violence on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has seen his popularity plummet as the military operation, which began on July 8, dragged on for seven weeks.

But on Wednesday, Netanyahu presented his defense: Hamas, he said, was hit "very hard" and did not receive anything it had demanded in exchange for halting its fire, namely a port and an airport in Gaza.

Such matters are to be discussed, along with Israel's demand for Gaza militants to disarm, at a new round of talks which will take place in Cairo within the coming month.

But already, Israel has begun staking out its position - that there will be no port, nor an airport and no entry of any building materials that could be used by militants to manufacture rockets or build tunnels or other fortifications.

On the military front, Netanyahu also outlined Israel's achievements -- the destruction of a network of attack tunnels and the elimination of "approximately 1,000 terrorists," among them senior military commanders.

He also listed the performance of the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which shot down 735 rockets heading for populated areas, which the army said equated to a 90 percent success rate.

Throughout the war, 70 people were killed on the Israeli side, 64 of them soldiers. Of the civilians who died, all of them were killed by short-range mortar shells which struck close to the border within a range that Iron Dome cannot intercept.

No 'strategic' victory

"A small military victory but not one that is strategic," said Mark Heller, research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

As far as Hamas is concerned, "its only success was to have managed to survive," he said.

But on the ground, Hamas has chalked up a number of points.

During the fighting, 64 Israeli soldiers were killed in what was the army's heaviest losses since the 2006 war with Lebanon's Hezbollah.

And despite Israel's intensive bombardment which created death and destruction across the Gaza Strip, costing the lives of 2,143 Palestinians, Hamas continued firing rockets up to the last minute before Tuesday's truce went into effect.

Throughout the seven-week conflict, militants in Gaza fired 4,591 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, of which 3,650 hit Israel and another 735 of which were shot down.

The bombardment regularly set air raid sirens wailing across southern and central Israel, sending millions scrambling for cover in cities as far away as Tel Aviv and on several occasions in Jerusalem.

And the intensity of the fire also turned the communities near the Gaza border into ghost towns, with thousands fleeing with their families to seek shelter in other parts of the country.

The fire prompted major US and European airlines to suspend flights to Tel Aviv's international airport for two days after a rocket landed close to one of its main runways, in a development hailed by Hamas as a "victory."

But none of this has translated into political gains, said Eyal Zisser of the Israeli Moshe Dayan Institute.

"Politically, Hamas has not achieved anything and there is very little chance it will get what it wants in terms of the construction of a port or an airport in Gaza," he told AFP.

"The damage in Gaza is such that Hamas will find it very difficult to resume the fighting, even if its demands are rejected."

Costly war

The financial cost of the operation in the third and longest Gaza war in six years is estimated at around three to four billion dollars, experts say.

Israel's defense ministry has demanded a grant for a similar sum to restock on ammunition, including for its Iron Dome defense system.

If it gives into the financial demands of a powerful military lobby, the government could be forced to cut budgets elsewhere and increase taxes, bringing socio-economic pressure on itself.

On the diplomatic front, Israel's offensive has put already tested relations with key ally the United States under severe strain.

Harsh criticism from Israeli officials of top US diplomat John Kerry's attempts to broker a truce prompted a strong rebuke from the Americans, as the State Department condemned the killing of innocent civilians in incidents the UN attributed to Israeli bombardments.

Meanwhile, some 50 percent of Israelis said they were satisfied with the way Netanyahu carried out the operation, a drop from 77 percent just three weeks earlier, a poll showed.
1 ) JIMMS Kadoo / Botswana
29/08/2014 10:55
I now hate Israel more than ever, and wonder what goes into the minds of the soldiers and leaders concerning the genocide pepetrated.

2 ) Omar / Palestine
29/08/2014 11:55
keep launching rockets and fire to the last moment of war from Gaza to the occupied Palestinian lands is a victory, hoping the next round will involve other fronts ( Hizballah) in the war so we can liberate and free all Palestine

3 ) Truth / Reality
29/08/2014 14:46
Truthfully, it is Palestine that is "painting a victorious picture of the war in -1- GAZA", that is Totally Incompatible With Truth & Reality, where 1,000s Are DEAD AND Injured, and Years Or Decades Will Be Required to Rebuild That Which Was DESTROYED, and all that Gaza achieved is a 6-mile fishing-limit, WHILE -2- ISRAEL LOST NOTHING on either political, or diplomatic fronts, and all economic costs of this (& every Israel war) are paid in advance, by $$ Billions of USA Military Aid.

4 ) Nidal / USA
29/08/2014 17:13
@truth reality
Israel failed tremendously even if US paid every penny. According to IDF/Israel, their objectives for this war were the following
1) Stop incoming rockets - FAILED
2) Destroy ALL tunnels - FAILED
3) Demilitarilze Hamas - FAILED

5 ) Andy / UK
29/08/2014 17:42
Truth/Reality:The Palestinians are still there and they are still resisting.When it's revealed that almost 90% of Israeli Jews agreed with the slaughter in Gaza, people understand what kind of psychopaths are committing these crimes.Considering their overwhelming military superiority losing 64 soldiers is a major defeat.Just as in Lebanon it's been proven that the IDF are best suited to bullying kids and women at checkpoints rather than in combat with well trained but poorly equipped resistance.

6 ) JoeFattal / USA
29/08/2014 18:02
At least we ought to know by now that Israel will not give away anything unless the Palestinians have to fight for it and who else but Hamas. So when Mr. Netanyahu talk to John Kerry or anyone about any negotiations he is there for a photo-op no more and no less.

7 ) pro Palestinian / Australia
29/08/2014 18:18
Israeli government didnt expect collateral damage, WRONG! It is from now on, if Palestinians can't live in peace ,then settlers and occupiers will not live in peace. Its not 2012 anymore . I salute the resistance for standing up to an oppressor and forcing it to walk away a looser

8 ) JoeFattal / USA
29/08/2014 18:26
It will cost the US dearly not Israel. Who do you think going to pay for all the weapons and amunitions that Israel used in the war, the US will. Israel was but the trigger for a US made weapons.

9 ) carlos / usa
29/08/2014 18:47
israel is totally clueless.

10 ) Brian / South Africa
29/08/2014 19:52
Hamas and Fatah and all other non-democratic leaders in the Arab world know if there was peace, democracy and free speech they would be swept away. They would loose their jobs and perks !! They would have to start working and earning instead of stealing, creating enemies, telling lies, inciting and tyrannizing those who think differently. The ancient Greek philosophers who invented democracy understood tyrants were the greatest evil under the sun. Arabs wake up !!!

11 ) Mitri I. Musleh / Canada
29/08/2014 19:58
I am truly disgusted with the way some people try to justify the latest Israeli aggression at Gaza’s civilians. Palestine’s civilians paid dearly for Israel’s unprovoked barbaric attack. The end result is not about who fired at whom and who scored more casualties than the other. Don’t you people realize that the problem is about occupation, oppression and colonization. There is never a winner in a war just as there is no freedom with occupation.

12 ) Maureen / Australia
29/08/2014 20:07
'The only democracy in the Middle East,' is in fact nothing more than a terrorist theocratic, apartheid state, plopped down on Palestine! Because of their own crimes of colonialism and double standards, little condemnation of Israel is heard in public but in reality, Israel's barbarity has opened the eyes of many of Israel's most ardent supporters to its true nature of unGodly lack of respect for human rights of the Palestinian people.

13 ) Outlier / USA
29/08/2014 21:09
Each side will deal with the consequences of this conflict. I expect Israel will have an easier time than Gaza handling the costs.

14 ) David / USA
29/08/2014 22:24
Most of Israel was enjoying the beaches the entire time. Some Israelis were forced to give their lives to protect their country, but generally people weren't even bothered by it. It's a shame that jihadist psychopaths just can't leave Israel alone and get on with their miserable pathetic lives. That's the real issue: Arabs are jealous of what the Jews have accomplished. Too bad they aren't honest enough to say, "We need to make something of ourselves without blaming others for our failures."

15 ) Anja ZimmermannSenke / Germany
29/08/2014 23:45
Love, Peace, Freedom for Pal?stina ......from Love-Peace-Unity.com

16 ) Sherri Munnerlyn / US
30/08/2014 00:59
Israel can call it a victory all they want, the world is with Palestine now, look at the social media Revolution, Israel's war crimes blasted all over social media, the world has forever changed for Israel. Viva Gaza! Viva Palestina! Viva La Resistance!

17 ) Joe / US
30/08/2014 01:24
#3: the fight is not over, but so far I believe the Palestinian people have achieved the greatest victory since the beginning of the conflict, half a century ago. Now the political side, with international support, has to end the war. Meantime, someone else is knocking at Israel's door: ISIL. And those people don't want merely basic rights and freedoms. When ISIL goes Israel's way, there will probably be no place for negotiations.

18 ) David / Canada
30/08/2014 06:32
Truth/Reality You live in a fantasy world. Israel's standing around the world has plummeted. It is now seen for what it is, a blood thirsty, cowardly fascist state. Hamas won because it still stands and governs the Gaza Strip. It is only a matter of time before Hamas and other Palestinian/Arab resistance groups have missiles capable of dodging Iron Dome and wreaking death and destruction on Israel. No wonder Israeli Jews are lining up to emigrate and immigration is less than a trickle.

19 ) Israel lost big in this / war and will pay
30/08/2014 08:27
dearly Israel is very close to collapse

20 ) She who eats down under / Cherokee
30/08/2014 10:03
Do not worry to much for the economy of Israel. Better still invest 10% of your savings in Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd an Israeli defense technology company. With fifty three Islamic nations as potential clients, each at each others throats. Plus customers like India, who need to protect themselves against their neighbors. It will be and has been, a brilliant investment. Those Jews just won't lay down and die.

21 ) inbound39 / New Zealand
30/08/2014 12:43
Everyone saw that Rafael Advanced Weapons were incapable of stopping rocket fire in Gaza which increased in range and frequency toward the end. Nor did those Advanced Systems stop IDF being ground to a halt by a lesser armed force. So much for Rafael.

22 ) Robert Chapman / USA
30/08/2014 23:04
The American Taxpayer will get the bill, like always !! End the Occupation & Apartheid !!.

23 ) Julie / USA
30/08/2014 23:09
f there was peace, democracy and free speech they would be swept away You must have missed the free and fair election that was held where Hamas won. Unfortunately, since the party that the US and Israel didn't like won, they refused to recognize it. They acted very UNdemocratically in that regard. Much like Egypt - who did they expect to win. They only want democracy if their guy wins. They should have worked with the elected gov't rather than effectively overthrowing it which is what they did.

24 ) ZG / canada
31/08/2014 08:19
Most of the commenters are absolutely clueless about Israel, hence their comments like "Israel is falling apart", "Apartheid Regime" etc. Based of the reality,Even the Israel hating NYT admitted that there was no Indiscriminate targeting of civilians by Israel as at least 50% of Hamas dead where millitary age males, so much for the claim of "majority civilian casualties"!!!

25 ) Freddi Fartz / Germany
31/08/2014 09:30
@21 Can you show me any bomb damaged affected buildings in Tel- Aviv, Beersheba or Jerusalem? There are none.

26 ) Brian / South Africa
01/09/2014 23:35
Hamas won an election but that does not make them democrats. Hitler also subverted an election. In Africa and other countries there have been an election only once. It is time Arab intellectuals taught their people what democracy means - the rule of Law, respect for minorities and those who think or believe differently, peaceful transition of power etc. Unless Arabs get it right they will continue to suffer and their deranged leaders will look for scapegoats and wars will never end !!
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