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Israeli sources said Israel would not lift a blockade of the enclave it enforced after Hamas, which preaches the Jewish state’s destruction, won a Palestinian election in 2006.
However, Meshaal said the deal covered the opening of all of the territory’s border crossings. “The document stipulates the opening of the crossings, all the crossings, and not just Rafah,” he said. Israel, trying to stop Hamas arming itself, controls all entry to Gaza apart from one crossing with Egypt.
Israel let dozens of trucks carry supplies into the Palestinian enclave during the fighting. Residents there have long complained that Israeli restrictions blight their economy.
Meshaal thanked Egypt for mediating and praised Iran for providing Gazans with financing and arms. “We have come out of this battle with our heads up high,” he said, adding that Israel had been defeated and failed in its “adventure”.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Hamas had suffered a heavy military blow, including the death of its top commander, killed in an air strike at the start of the operation on Nov. 14 and the deal merely let Hamas surrender while saving face.
“A large part of the mid-range rockets were destroyed. Hamas managed to hit Israel’s built-up areas with around a tonne of explosives, and Gaza targets got around 1,000 tonnes,” Barak told Israel Radio.
“So whoever misses what is happening in Gaza does not understand that this entire agreement is a paper bridge for the defeated so that they can explain to their public how they can even show their faces after what they were hit with for a week.”
Hamas declared Nov. 22 a national holiday marking “the victory of the resistance”. Its spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said: “Resistance has achieved and has imposed a new formula - if you hit Gaza, we will hit Tel Aviv and beyond Tel Aviv.