Gazans have won the war against Israel, despite their civilian losses

Assessments of the Gaza conflict, from Abdel Bari Atwan (Rai Al Youm), Areeb Rantawi (Addustour) and Ali Fakhrou (Al Shorouk).

The high toll on civilians, and especially children, has damaged Israel's international image, the Arabic language press is saying. Photo: EPA / Mohammed Saber
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Gaza has emerged victorious in the recent war, while Israel has been defeated psychologically and is hated across the world, wrote Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based news website Rai Al Youm.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted a ceasefire not out of compassion for the children of Gaza, whom he slew even in schools and hospitals, but rather because he could not achieve any military results.

Unlike military leaders who boast of being graduates of western military academies such as West Point and Sandhurst, where they are taught that Israel is invincible, the heroes of Gaza attended only the academies of dignity, courage and an unwavering belief in the inevitable triumph of right, the writer said.

For weeks, Gazans stood firm and did not beg for a ceasefire as some people expected. They relied only on their own capabilities. And now, the tunnels, rockets and fighters are still there, waiting for the next battle. True, buildings have been destroyed but souls remain intact.

Israelis have not occupied Gaza, and will not. Their missiles killed children but could not destroy Hamas’s rocket-launching capacity. The army billed by Tel Aviv and its allies as ethical and precise targeted children, hospitals, schools and homes, whereas those billed as “terrorists” killed soldiers and destroyed a Merkavaa tank, Atwan wrote.

Areeb Rantawi noted in the Jordan-based daily Addustour that some people have wrongly blamed the Palestinian resistance for accepting in the fourth week a ceasefire it had refused in the first week, potentially preventing the deaths of more than 1,000 Gazans and injuries to many more.

This argument does not hold water. Firstly, accepting the Egyptian initiative might not have stopped Israel from pressing ahead with its assault for several weeks while the terms of ceasefire were being debated. Israel’s record of assaults on the Palestinians and Lebanese provides ample evidence of that.

Secondly, assuming the ceasefire took hold, the list of Palestinian demands would not be primary topics on the negotiating table and Israel would pursue its policies of occupation and tightening of the blockade.

The Palestinians paid dearly with the blood of their children, women and civilian men, as well as in their homes and their properties. Yet, had Arabs rushed to support Gaza instead of sitting idly by, the price would not have been as costly.

Detractors are blaming the Palestinian resistance for hateful Israeli crimes, attacking the victim and finding excuses and pretexts for the murderer.

The blood of Gazan martyrs and the injured was not in vain, the writer said. Israel waged war in an attempt to deal a painful blow to the resistance and failed miserably. Tel Aviv sought to restore the wrecked image of Israeli deterrence and an invincible army but instead further wrecked itself.

The occupation forces have been waging a war in Gaza every year or two. Now, it is unlikely they will continue that trend.

The fight has not ended, however, and the ongoing talks in Cairo are as fierce as the battles that took place in Shuja’iyya, Khan Younis and Rafah. Hopefully, the Palestinian negotiator will be as skilful and resolute as the Palestinian fighters, because Israel will attempt to achieve through negotiations what it failed to achieve through war.

Ali Fakhrou wrote in the Cairo-based Al Shorouk that the people of Gaza hope other Arabs will learn from their heroics, their sacrifices and their historic stand in the face of a heinous and brutal war machine that has been shamelessly backed for 60 years by US governments of al stripes.

Translated by Abdelhafid Ezzouitni