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November 20, 2012, Tuesday

A city longing for peace

The latest surge in the long-running conflict between Israel and Gaza began when the former killed Hamas military mastermind Ahmed al-Jabari in an air strike on his car on Wednesday.

Israel then began shelling the coastal enclave from the air and sea. Seven days of Israeli air strikes have left nearly 100 Palestinians -- almost half of them civilians -- dead, with Turkey, along with other countries, calling on Israel to end its attacks.

Sedat Laçiner from Star writes that Israel has been holding Gaza’s borders, airspace and access to the sea under its control since 2005 and that today Gaza is practically an open-air prison. Israel attacks Gaza from the air whenever it wants, he says, adding that under such circumstances, it is impossible for Hamas to defend itself for good. Most of the missiles Hamas fired at Israel were no different from metal bins until recently. But lately Hamas has started to use Fajr-5 rockets, which are more effective and are allegedly sent from Iran. As a matter of fact, the rockets have been said to have successfully targeted some Israeli aircraft.

However, no matter how effective the rockets Hamas obtains, it is clear that it cannot defeat Israel. The rockets Gazans fire into Israel can do no good; on the contrary, they end up provoking Israel further and creating an image of a “terrorist Gaza” in the international public opinion. Every rocket Hamas launches into Israel plays into Israel’s hands and gives it the opportunity to respond harsher. And yet Hamas does and most probably will not stop shooting at Israel. The reason is because Hamas gains more power within Gaza in this way, and it sees no other option for demonstrating its reaction and frustration, the Star columnist says.

Bugün’s Ahmet Taşgetiren, on the other hand, claims that Israel waited for US elections to end before launching the fatal operation in Gaza. He states that what Israel is doing is “madness” and that it can carry on with this madness thanks to unconditional support from the US and the conflicts within Muslim countries. In order to maintain these two advantages, Israel keeps putting pressure on the US president by means of the Jewish Diaspora in the country and supports the dictators and deep states in Muslim countries. Thus, the balance in the region might be reshaped only if the US and Muslim countries are freed from Israel. But what is certain now is that there is no way Palestine can be saved through air strikes on Israel.

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