After a three day offensive in Gaza, Israeli forces are pulling back from one of their biggest military operations in the past 4 four years — this one sparked by the killing of 13 Israeli soldiers. The IDF says its aim is to destroy tunnels used for smuggling long-range strategic weapons in from Egypt, but two days ago, when Israeli tanks fired shells into a crowd of protesters, killing ten, including children, the international community swiftly condemned the scale of force.
Even the U.S. refused to stand with Israel in a censure from the UN Security Council. This weekend, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is due to present a revised plan for withdrawal from Gaza. He now has the vocal support of many Israelis who feel that the fight to protect settlers in Gaza is not worth loss of any more life on either side.
Gerald Steinberg, Director of the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar Ilan University, in Ramat Gan, Israel
Ari Shavit, political columnist for Ha’Aretz
Rawia Shawa, elected representative from Gaza City in The Palestinian Legislative Council
Captain Jacob Dellal, Foreign Press Branch of the Israeil Defense Force Spokesman’s Office.