‘CAST LEAD’ – DAY 17 [01/12/2009]
* Hamas leader in Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised speech, delivered on Monday 01/12/2009, that his movement would “cooperate with any initiative aimed at ending the Israeli aggression and bring about the enemy’s withdrawal and the reopening of the crossings.” Haniyeh added that simultaneous to the ceasefire talks the Palestinians would continue to fight the occupying forces.
According to him, at least half of the Palestinian casualties are women and children. He noted that “victory comes to those who believe and those who carry out Allah’s commands.”
During the speech Haniyeh said “we trust Allah and know that he is by our side despite what people are trying to tell you to affect your spirits; I say that victory is close.”
Earlier, Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip declared victory to be “closer than ever” on Monday. In a statement cited by Reuters, the Hamas cabinet said it continued to function as a government and condemned Israel for its “reoccupation” of Gaza, saying the invading forces would soon be repelled. “We confirm to our people that victory is closer than ever,” the statement read.
The speech brought to day light the growing division between Hamas leadership in Gaza who yelled for cease fire and Hamas in Damascus who is ready to fight up to the last Palestinian in Gaza hoping that time will erode the Israeli offensive.
* The Israeli cabinet seems to be on one hand confused about the way to end the operation and in the other hand very reluctant to expend the military operation in Gaza. Israel became, diplomatically, depended on Egyptian diplomacy and Egyptian timetable which is a formula to a dead end.
*** See daily reports – Cast-Lead Diary ***