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Rights group Amnesty International says U.S. response to Gaza 'lopsided'
by Haaretz (reposted)
Friday Jan 2nd, 2009 6:12 PM
Human rights group Amnesty International on Friday accused the United States of having a "lopsided" response to the crisis in Gaza and told the top U.S. diplomat to press all sides to reach an immediate cease-fire.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Amnesty's U.S. branch said the U.S. government must not ignore Israel's "disproportionate response" against Gaza and policies the group said had brought Hamas-ruled Gaza to the brink of "humanitarian disaster."

"Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the U.S. government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," the group told Rice in the letter, which was released to the media by Amnesty.

Amnesty said it was also deeply concerned by weaponry and military equipment supplied to Israel by Washington that the group said had been used in recent strikes on densely populated residential areas in Gaza.

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http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052270.html
by Haaretz (reposted)
Friday Jan 2nd, 2009 6:14 PM
President George W. Bush on Friday branded the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel an act of terror and outlined his own condition for a cease-fire in Gaza, saying no peace deal would be acceptable without monitoring to halt the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups.

Bush chose his taped, weekly radio address to speak for the first time about one of the bloodiest Mideast clashes in decades.

Israel Air Force warplanes have been striking targets in the Gaza Strip for the past seven days, in an effort to stop the Palestinian militant group Hamas from traumatizing southern Israel with intensifying rocket attacks.

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http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052265.html
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Friday Jan 2nd, 2009 6:14 PM


George Bush, the US president, has called for greater pressure to be placed on Hamas in Gaza to stop firing rockets into Israeli territory in order to facilitate a ceasefire.

President Bush's first public comments on the violence come on the seventh day of Israel's aerial assaults on Gaza, which have killed 431 people and injured 2,100 others in the coastal territory.

"I urge all parties to pressure Hamas to turn away from terror, and to support legitimate Palestinian leaders working for peace," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

"Promises from Hamas will not suffice," he said. "There must be monitoring mechanisms in place to help ensure that smuggling of weapons to terrorist groups in Gaza comes to an end."

Bush said Hamas was responsible for the latest violence and rejected a unilateral ceasefire that would allow Hamas to continue to fire mortars on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

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http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/01/20091223547843799.html
by IOL (reposted)
Saturday Jan 3rd, 2009 9:05 AM
As Israeli air strikes entered its eighth day on Saturday, January 3, a leading international rights group berated the "lopsided" US support for the ongoing Israeli atrocities in the strip.

"Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the US government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Amnesty said in a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Washington failed to criticize Israel over its attacks in Gaza, which killed 838 people dead, including at least 75 children and 21 women.

The offensive -- one of Israel's deadliest ever against Gaza -- has wounded more than 2,285 people.

The White House said Friday that it was up to Israel to launch a ground operation into the Gaza Strip, home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

"Those will be decisions made by the Israelis," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

Rice also said that Washington was pressing for a ceasefire in which the key element would be stopping Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

Washington blocked on Wednesday, December 31, an Arab draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Israeli planes carried out 20 strikes against targets across Gaza on the eighth consecutive day on Saturday.

Children continued to fall victim to Israel's assault in the world's most densely-populated place.

On Friday, a missile fired by an Israeli jet killed three boys while they were playing on a street in southern Gaza.

A 12-year-old girl also died of her wounds after the bombing of a house near Gaza City.

At the same time, Hamas's armed wing said it had repelled a patrol of Israeli special forces attempting to cross the border into Gaza.

US Weapons

Amnesty urged Washington to halt weapons sales for Israel, which are being used in attacking civilian targets in Gaza.

"The United States must suspend the transfer of weapons to Israel immediately and conduct an investigation into whether US weapons were used to commit human rights abuses."

Israel used US-supplied cluster bombs during the 2006 war in Lebanon, which left up to 1,300 civilians dead.

The United Nations estimates that Israel dropped a few million cluster bombs on Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of those bomblets failed to explode and have continued to maim and kill after that war's end.

Amnesty also urged Washington to pressure Israel to open up Gaza crossings for humanitarian aid.

Israel has closed all commercial crossings with Gaza, banning fuel and food shipments into the impoverished territory.

Under the siege, people in Gaza live without electricity, water and sewage services for up to 16 hours a day.

"There is a critical emergency in the Gaza Strip right now," said Max Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

"By any definition this is a humanitarian crisis and more."