Hamas-Israeli conflict a 'game changer'

Nov. 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM
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GAZA, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The week-long conflict between Israel and Hamas was a "military game-changer," says a senior Hamas official viewed as a moderate voice of the organization.

Ghazi Hamad said Sunday although 168 Palestinians died and Gaza suffered about $1 billion in damages, Israel can no longer consider attacking Hamas an easy task, Tribune Newspapers reported.

"This was a military game-changer," said Hamad a few days after the two sides agreed to a cease-fire. "There are new rules. Israel now perhaps has reached the conclusion that Gaza is not so easy to target without retaliation. We sent a strong message to Israel that if Gaza is not safe, your cities are not safe. Tel Aviv will not be safe."

Although three Hamas missiles hit just south of Jerusalem, Hamad said he did not think the city was intentionally targeted. Rather, he said, the rockets were intended "to send the message that none of Israel's cities are safe. Because of that maybe we will see a longer period of quiet this time."

Hamas is negotiating indirectly with Israel through Egypt to reach terms for an agreement, he said.

Hamad said Hamas also was meeting with other anti-Israel groups in Gaza to get them to cooperate in the cease-fire.

He said the government would take "some crucial steps" against groups "working against the international consensus."

Hamad did not spell out what steps might be taken.

Hamad said many countries, Arab and non-Arab had offered to help rebuild Gaza. He estimated damage at $1 billion, with about 200 homes damaged and 90 percent of security centers destroyed.

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