Israel Gained Upper Hand in Final Days of Gaza War

(Al-Monitor) Asmaa al-Ghoul - The Gaza war took a different course during its last four days as Israeli aircraft started targeting middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. Aug. 26 ended with a cease-fire; its beginning was completely different. Gazans were traumatized as Israeli forces targeted two residential buildings - the Italian Complex and Basha Tower - in the early morning hours, in the most vital areas of Gaza. The headquarters of Sawt El Shaab radio station in Basha Tower, as well as several other press offices, turned into rubble. The radio station's editor, Shady Abu Shadak, said Israeli forces warned everyone to get out because they were going to strike in 20 minutes. "We started calling all the well as all journalists to leave the building and we ran as far as we could." He added that the aircraft launched two guided rockets as they stood and watched. The Italian Complex in al-Nasr neighborhood is considered one of the highest towers in Gaza. Part of the tower is still standing. Planes launched two rockets at the foundations of the 14-story Zafer 4 tower in the modern neighborhood of Tal al-Hawa in broad daylight on Aug. 23, and no Gazan could ever forget the image of it crumbling. Political analyst Akram Atallah sees the targeting of residential towers as a wakeup call for the Palestinians to realize what Israel is capable of doing and as a message. "The destruction of the towers did not affect the battle as much as it affected Palestinian public opinion," he said. "When the ground battles stopped, Israel started to regain the upper hand....This affected the Palestinians and the resistance factions' morale." "When Israel carried out the ground operation, coffins were being sent out to Israel on a daily basis. However, after the ground withdrawal, there were no coffins anymore, which made people sense that the resistance was witnessing a setback, after initially advancing." Referring to the targeted killing of the southern leadership of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades, he added, "The fact that Israel received such accurate information concerning Qassam leadership allowed it to gain ground in the battle." Atallah confirmed that impressions changed after that moment; Israel was more prone to use aircraft and it multiplied its strikes, which led to the decrease of the number and range of the resistance's rockets as the battle dragged on and reinforcement potential weakened. "In the end, Israel became the decision-maker in the truce agreement," he concluded.

2014-08-29 00:00:00

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