Middle East

Gaza ceasefire: Palestinian and Israeli press reaction

A Hamas police officer is hugged by a Palestinian man after they returned to their destroyed police headquarters in Gaza City November 22, 2012
Image caption Palestinian papers have described the ceasefire agreement as a "victory"

Palestinian papers are broadly supportive of the Gaza ceasefire agreed between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement, while reactions in Israel are more mixed.

Palestinian press

The Hamas-run, Gaza-based Filastin newspaper runs a headline quoting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya as saying that "we are proud of resistance and our people's steadfastness" and that his government "is satisfied with the truce agreement".

The paper reports that the "Palestinian government in Gaza has announced that it will make 22 November an official national holiday" and says that "all parts of the Gaza Strip erupted in celebration at the victory of the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation when the ceasefire was announced".

An editorial in the Jerusalem-based, pro-Fatah Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds says the ceasefire "is in the interest both of our people in the Gaza Strip and of the Israelis because wars do not resolve problems but create new ones". According to the paper, the agreement shows that "when the United States and EU want something in the region they can achieve it" and "that our people have emerged victorious from this confrontation".

A commentary by Abd-al-Majid Suwaylim in the Ramallah-based, pro-Fatah newspaper Al-Ayyam agrees that "the Israeli leadership miscalculated when it considered that there would be enough international cover for it to achieve its objectives".

The Ramallah-based, Palestinian Authority-owned newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadidah says the truce will enable the Palestinians to look to the future. "Now we will concentrate on building the economy, on national unity, on reconstruction and on devising effective national policies that will lead us toward justice," a commentary by Adil Abd-al-Rahman says.

Israeli press

A commentary by Sima Kadmon in the mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot newspaper laments that the government has not kept its election promise to "crush Hamas rule". "No wonder that the residents of the south are bitter and feel that they have been deceived if there is such a gap between what they had been promised and what they got in the ceasefire agreement," it says.

An editorial in the left-of-centre daily Ha'aretz warns that the agreement is no alternative to "sobering up". "The key to thwarting terror lies primarily in the peace process and not in the use of force," it says.

Boaz Bismuth in the pro-Netanyahu Yisrael Hayom newspaper is in two minds about the truce. "The head supports it because Hamas sustained a blow to the head" and "most of Hamas's long range missiles have been destroyed", but "the stomach rebels because even though we won, what we have here is not a clear victory". "The end of the operation enabled Hamas to lift its head; we would have preferred to see it headless," the commentary says.

An editorial in the English-language Jerusalem Post is more welcoming. "While many Israelis might be angry that the military operation has been stopped, many also heaved a collective sigh of relief that our soldiers' and civilians' lives would not be endangered further," the paper says. "Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups funded by Iran must know that they dare not attack Israel with impunity again. Next time, the government in power may not let them off the hook so quickly," it adds.

Regional reactions

A commentator in the London-based pan-Arab Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper has mixed feelings. "I was very disappointed when I found out that lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip was not one of the main clauses of the truce agreement which was announced yesterday in Cairo," Abd-al-Bari Atwan says. "However, what is interesting is that the resistance did not give up and did not yield to Israel's blackmailing conditions, especially those that call for an unconditional long-term truce, a handover of weapons and a ban on smuggling missiles," he adds.

Iran's hard-line Keyhan newspaper judges that Israel has been humiliated. A commentary by Hoseyn Shari'atmadari says Israel "started to beg for a ceasefire" only three days after the conflict started. It adds that, when CNN broadcast Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments on the truce, "I wish our national TV, too, had shown his humiliated face".

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