Another major confrontation not likely despite latest Gaza violence: experts (3)

10:11, April 07, 2010      

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HITTING THE BRAKES

One thing is for sure, according to both Marzuk and Eilam, Hamas' dominant wing has no interest whatsoever in seeing renewed clashes with Israel.

"There is the perception in Hamas and the other large movements that it is not worthwhile tangling with Israel and they have gone through enough real experiences to make them ensure there won't be any form of escalation," said Eilam.

The main experience to which he was referring was last year's Operation Cast Lead as Israel dubbed its three-week military incursion into Gaza. The ground invasion backed by substantial air power left Gaza shell shocked.

As many as 1,400 Palestinians were killed, many of them noncombatants. While Israel questions the number of casualties, there was no denying of the structural damage caused to Gaza by the aerial and artillery bombardment that ended on Jan. 18, 2009.

Operation Cast Lead was, as Israel claims, launched in response to some seven years of rocket attacks on Israeli towns and farming communities close to the border with Gaza. Israelis were also incensed that the attacks continued after Israeli troops and settlers withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

The operation also came after Hamas' ascent to power in Gaza and its ousting of Fatah, its main political rival in the Palestinian territories.

For its part, Hamas, backed by international opinion, accused Israel of squeezing the Gaza Strip so tightly that its people had no access to basic supplies. International aid agencies spoke of the increasing numbers of cases of malnutrition.

Not wanting to see a repeat of that devastation, Hamas is doing whatever it can to prevent the rocket attacks on Israel, according to Marzuk.

Eilam adds that Egypt is also trying its best to prevent any deterioration.


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(Editor:燕勐)

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