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Fmr. Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami: "It Was Wrong" For Israel to Invade Gaza
Israeli forces have invaded the Gaza Strip for the first since withdrawing ten months ago. Israel says it launched the raid to recover a soldier captured by Palestinian militants. The strikes came just hours after Fatah and Hamas agreed on a document to implicitly recognize Israel within its 1967 borders. We go to Gaza to speak with Palestinian physician Dr. Mona El-Farra and we get comment from former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami and Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah.
Israeli forces have invaded the Gaza Strip for the first time since withdrawing ten months ago. Israel says it's launched the raid to recover captured soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit was captured in a Palestinian operation on Sunday. The raid began after Israel rejected Shalit's captors demand for the release of all Palestinian females and Palestinians below the age of eighteen in Israeli prisons. Israel opened the attack with a series of air strikes on three bridges and Gaza's main power station. The attack left the power station in flames and knocked out electricity in most of Gaza City. Palestinian militants have reportedly taken up defensive positions around Gaza - setting the stage for a potential firefight with the invading soldiers.
The strikes came just hours after officials close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Hamas had agreed on a document to implicitly recognize Israel within its June 1967 borders. Hamas leaders later denied this is the case. Hamas lawmaker Salah al-Bardaweel explained: "We said we accept a state [in territory occupied] in 1967 - but we did not say we accept two states." The deal follows weeks of negotiations between Fatah and Hamas leaders over the terms of a unity government. Palestinians hope the agreement will bring an end to the crippling international aid freeze imposed since Hamas swept to power in elections earlier this year.
* Ali Abunimah, a writer, speaker and founder of the website Electronic Intifada. He is author of the book "One Country: A Bold proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian impasse" which will be published by Metropolitan Books this Fall. He joins on the line from Amman, Jordan.
* Shlomo Ben Ami, has held a number of positions within the Israeli government, including Foreign Minister, Minister of Public Security and Member of Parliament. His latest book is "Scars of Wars, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy." He speaks to us from Madrid, Spain, where he is currently Vice-President of the Toledo Peace Center.
* Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician and community activist in northern Gaza. She was at the hospital that received many of the victims of Friday's bombing. She runs a blog titled "From Gaza, With Love"