Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s claim that Israel achieved a “great military and political” victory over Hamas in the latest round of fighting in the Gaza Strip has met with skepticism from many Israelis, according to a poll published Thursday.
The poll, published in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper, shows that 54 percent of those surveyed believe there was no clear winner in the 50 days of war.
The Haaretz poll questioned 464 Israelis on Wednesday and had a margin of error of 4.6 percent. While 54 percent said there was no clear-cut winner, some 25 percent of respondents said Israel had won the war, while 16 percent believed Hamas had prevailed. The remaining 5 percent of those surveyed were undecided. The paper did not say how the survey was conducted.
Some of Netanyahu’s detractors, including ministers in his own government, believe that the prime minister and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon did not go far enough in pursuing the war, insisting that they should not have stopped until Hamas was destroyed or pleaded for peace.
Others, particularly residents of hard-hit agricultural communities abutting the Gaza border, fear that without a clear political road map for the Palestinian territory’s future, a resumption of the rocket and mortar fire is not so much a question of if, but rather of when.
Still, calm has prevailed since the two sides agreed on Tuesday to an open-ended truce, settling for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange.
Netanyahu visited the South on Thursday afternoon, where he met with mayors and heads of regional councils at the Be’er Sheva Municipality.
“Blood was shed here,” he said, and offered his condolences to families who lost their loved ones during the seven-week operation.
He said his commitment to the South and its security “was deep,” and told local leaders they were “a huge part of this effort,” thanking them for their support and cooperation.