28 Dec 2010

Two years since Gaza offensive by Israel

3:23 pm on 28 December 2010

A senior Israeli officer says another war is inevitable as long as Hamas remains in control of the Gaza Strip.

It's two years since Israel launched an attack on Gaza on 27 December, 2008. The fighting lasted 22 days. Israel said it was a legitimate attempt to protect its citizens from rocket attacks by Hamas, which runs the Palestinian territory.

Now a senior Israeli officer says if Gaza's present political structure remains, another war is inevitable.

The officer told the BBC that as long as Hamas remains in control of the Gaza Strip, another war is "only a question of time".

He said the Palestinian group had re-armed so much since the Israeli offensive two years ago that it was now in a stronger position militarily.

There has been an increase in rocket fire from Gaza in the past week.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has also warned that tensions are escalating in the region, and that any Israeli attack on Gaza would only lead to further bloodshed.

"Military solutions such as these won't achieve anything and will only complicate the situation," Mr Erekat said.

Background

Hamas has controlled Gaza since June 2007, after winning elections in 2006 and then forcing Fatah, the party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, out of the territory.

The United Nations says at least 62 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli action in Gaza so far this year. Over the same period, one Thai farm worker has been killed by rockets fired from the coastal territory into Israel.

The fighting in Gaza two years ago left an estimated 1300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.