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Israelis skeptical of Netanyahu's Gaza victory claim

The majority of respondents to the poll thought neither side won.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   Aug. 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM  |  Updated Aug. 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's claim of a significant victory over Hamas in Gaza was met with skepticism by Israelis, a poll indicated.

Conducted by the left-wing newspaper Ha'aretz and released Wednesday, 54 percent of respondents said there was no clear winner in the 50-day war in Gaza, which ended earlier this week with a negotiated long-term cease-fire; 25 percent said Israel won and 16 percent thought Hamas had won, with the remainder undecided.

The survey came after both sides said advantages were earned in the conflict. However, Netanyahu, on national television Wednesday, said, "With the implementation of the cease-fire, I can say that there is a great military and political achievement here for the State of Israel," adding, "Hamas was hit hard and it received not one of the demands it set forth for a cease-fire, not one."

Hamas was promised the end of a naval blockade, a relaxation of border controls and an opportunity for construction materials and humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. Hamas also retains control of Gaza.

Netanyahu's comments ran counter to those of respected Ha'aretz reporter Barak Ravid, who said on the Washington-based news website Vox, "The Egyptian cease-fire proposal that Israel accepted on Tuesday did not deliver a single achievement (for Israel)." Some of Netanyahu's government ministers also insisted Israel's military campaign in Gaza should have ended only with Hamas' surrender.

Yual Diskin, former director of Shin Bet, Israel's security agency, said the war's results were "disappointing and were accompanied by what some have described as a sense of sourness. The cease-fire that was achieved with Hamas has left the Israeli public frustrated," the Houston Chronicle reported.

Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met secretly in Amman, Jordan, before the cease-fire -- brokered by Egyptian officials -- was announced, according to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad.

The Palestinian Authority, whose power is concentrated in the contested West Bank, is expected to play a major role in the rebuilding of Gaza, and will lead coordination of international donations from the European Union, Turkey, Norway and others.

Follow @adamczyk_ed and @UPI on Twitter.
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