Hamas says Israeli report encourages it to continue resistance

By Xinhua

Gaza : Hamas Thursday said Israel’s Winograd Report on the Second Lebanon War in 2006 showed the Jewish state’s weakness and encouraged Hamas to stick to its resistance.

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Eliyahu Winograd, chairman of Israel’s Winograd Committee probing into the performance of the government and the army during the Second Lebanon War, said on Wednesday that “major faults were found on all levels during the war.”

In response, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoom said, “There is no other explanation but the proof that the Zionist entity (Israel) and its institutions were fragile.”

“The results of the report should push us to continue abiding by our right of using all forms of resistance against the Israeli aggression on our people,” said Barhoom.

On July 12 of 2006, following the abduction of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, Israel staged a 34-day-long war with Hezbollah guerillas.

The war ended on Aug. 14 of 2006 under a UN-brokered resolution. More than 110 Israeli soldiers and over 1,200 Lebanese were killed in the conflict.

The Winograd Committee said in its final report that it found “severe failures and faults in the decision making process, both inthe political echelon and the military echelon.”

Terming the war a “great and serious missed opportunity,” Winograd told a press conference in Jerusalem that “Israel embarked on a prolonged war that it initiated, which ended withouta clear Israeli victory from a military standpoint.”

“Hezbollah rocket fire on the Israeli home front continued throughout the war, and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) failed to provide an operational solution,” Winograd added.

Barhoom, the Hamas spokesman, hailed the Lebanese resistance and described the war as “a great victory” for Hezbollah.

Barhoom also said the report should convince the Palestinian Authority (PA) to restudy its attitudes towards the negotiations with “the fragile entity” and end crackdown against the Palestinian militant groups.

The PA, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, has been holding peace talks with Israel since December of 2007.