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Netanyahu: Israel agreed Gaza truce to focus on IS, al-Qaeda
Published Sunday 31/08/2014 (updated) 31/08/2014 22:14
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A picture taken on August 26, 2014 shows a ball a fire rising from the
house of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, Nafez Azzam, that was hit
by an Israeli air strike in Rafah (AFP/File Said Khatib)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel agreed to a permanent truce in its 50-day Gaza war with Hamas in order to keep focused on the threat from regional militants, after Palestinians claimed the war had been a major defeat for Israel.

"We fought for 50 days and we could have fought for 500 days, but we are in a situation where the Islamic State is at the gates of Jordan, Al-Qaeda is in the Golan and Hezbollah is at the border with Lebanon," Netanyahu said in an address on public television.

He was referring to Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq -- both neighbors of Jordan -- Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front Syria rebels on the Israeli-occupied Golan and Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah.

"We decided not to get bogged down in Gaza, and we could have, but we decided to limit our objective and restore calm to Israeli citizens," Netanyahu added.

His remarks come as the United States, Israel's chief ally, is calling for a global coalition to fight the militants who have set up an Islamic "caliphate" in areas they have overrun in Syria and Iraq.

US President Barack Obama has said he will send Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to discuss the plan, which he said would involve military, diplomatic and regional efforts.

Calm returned to the Gaza Strip after a Tuesday ceasefire, a long-term truce ahead of further expected negotiations between Israel and a united Palestinian delegation on a long-term peace deal.

Palestinians viewed the ceasefire deal as a major victory, as Israel promised to ease an eight-year long siege, limit a "buffer zone" near the border inside Gaza, and expand the fishing zone off Gaza's coast.

Israel received none of its demands in return, the biggest of which was the demilitarization of Palestinian fighters in Gaza.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) Olga / Lithuania
31/08/2014 16:02
If it's not one gang of Mohammedan terrorists, it's another gang.

2 ) joefattal / USA
31/08/2014 19:04
That is true. Israel should worry about IS. But if Israel don't give the Palestinians what they want IS will use it as an excuse to spread their movement in Israel.

3 ) John / US
31/08/2014 20:49
No, Israel couldn't have fought for 500 days. Not because of military capabilities, not even because of financial limitations, but for the same reason why Israel cannot afford to commit full scale genocide and kill every living thing in Gaza: international pressure and the risk of sanctions. In fact, there are signs Netanyahu knew he will have to stop the siege and bombed Gaza in the last days just to spite everyone, including Obama, while trying to recover a bit of the lost support internally.

4 ) John / US
31/08/2014 20:55
... Which brings me to one worrisome point: the Israeli people actually *want* Gaza destroyed, with all the people inside it. Netanyahu was caught between a rock and a hard place, between his people's request to *destroy* Gaza on one hand, and the international community (including US) on the other. Just thinking that Israeli people would want such a thing brings chills down my spine. They have become what they hated the most. Have they learned nothing from history?!

5 ) Miriam / Palestine
01/09/2014 14:31
#4 - "Have they learned nothing from history?!" - Clearly they have; how to anhiliate & destroy other people, comitting genocide in the process. Sad.
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