Middle East

Gaza: Israeli and Palestinian press see truce 'victory'

Middle Eastern newspaper front pages Image copyright BBC Monitoring
Image caption Palestinian Al-Quds (bottom R) wants guarantees that Israel's "futile" operation in Gaza will not be repeated

Middle East newspapers are taking stock as the 72-hour ceasefire agreed by Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip appears to hold.

Israeli newspapers debate whether the military campaign has achieved its objectives, with disappointment outnumbered by declarations of strategic victory.

On the Palestinian side, press commentators are also cautiously optimistic about the truce and a potential long-term halt to the violence, and even voice hopes that Palestinians will gain from the conflict.


One writer, in the pro-Hamas newspaper, Filastin, portrays the ceasefire as a victory.

"Hamas' army was able to remain steadfastly on its feet, which is equal to victory. It thwarted the Zionist and regional scheme to get rid of the Palestinian resistance that will emerge from this conflict stronger," Eyad al-Qarra writes.

The Palestinian Authority-owned newspaper al-Hayat al-Jadidah is upbeat about the Palestinian factions' chances at the indirect talks with Israeli representatives taking place in Egypt.

"The Palestinian delegation in Cairo proved that it is capable of having a thorough political vision," it says.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Israeli troops have withdrawn to "defensive positions" outside the Gaza Strip

In al-Ayyam, which supports the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Hani Habib is even more positive, and sees wider benefits for Palestinian aspirations:

"With the help of the war's outcome, it is realistic to politically reinvigorate the Palestinian cause by restarting a regional and Arab effort to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state."

But an editorial in Jerusalem-based al-Quds believes Palestinians should focus securing international guarantees to ensure that Israel's "futile" operation in Gaza will not be repeated.

Victory or disappointment?

In Israel, opinion is divided on whether the truce should be welcomed.

In Yedioth Ahronoth, Nahum Barnea speaks of "disappointment" at the lack of a "categorical ending" to the military campaign.

"Israel's government entered the operation without a strategic plan and came out of it without a strategic plan," Barnea wrote.

In the same paper, Baruch Leshem, says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can be satisfied with the outcome.

"A ceasefire and an arrangement after that, together with the destruction of most of the tunnels, can constitute a certain victory picture for the prime minister," Leshem says.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Israeli families were forced to take refuge in bomb shelters, like this one in Ashkelon

The Jerusalem Post also believes public disappointment at the ceasefire is outweighed by what it says is a strategic victory

"The rule of thumb in gauging any public's mood is that the higher the expectations, the deeper the let-down," it says in an editorial.

"The ground incursion into Gaza was never intended to conquer it and expel Hamas. It was occasioned by the tunnel threat, and that was neutralised more competently and successfully than might have been envisioned."

The pro-Netanyahu free paper Yisrael Hayom is in no doubt as to the result.

"It is difficult to miss the satisfaction in Israel yesterday from the results of the fighting in Gaza. From the top of the political echelon to the last of the warriors the message was one: 'We won.'"

Arabs 'asleep'

In the rest of the Arab world, commentators bemoan what they see as insufficient support for Hamas.

"We know that the Palestinians paid a very high price... but we also know it would not have been so dear a price if some of the Arabs had backed Gaza," Jordan's al-Dustur says in an editorial.

In Kuwait, al-Seyassah echoes the sentiment. "The whole wide world was watching while the Arab world is scandalously fast asleep," it says.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Beit Lahiya, a town in northern Gaza, was badly damaged in the conflict

Lebanese paper Assafir is not optimistic that the ceasefire talks will be a success.

"There will be no peace with Israel even at its own conditions because peace with Israel, as we are currently witnessing, means endless Arab civil wars."

Papers in Iran are keen to show the ceasefire as a moral victory for Hamas.

"Zionists have lost the war in the public relations fight," Seyed Masud Alavi writes in conservative Resalat.

"Thus, they have retreated with humility and disgrace and called for a 72-hour cease-fire by raising the white flag."

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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