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Related Categories: Palestine | International
Israel Rejects Gaza Ceasefire
by IOL (reposted)
Friday Jan 9th, 2009 8:51 AM
UNITED NATIONS — Israel rejected Friday, January 9, a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, vowing more attacks in the bombed-out strip.
"Israel has never agreed for any outside influence to decide on its right to defend its citizens," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will continue to operate in order to defend the citizens of Israel and will carry out the task it was given for the operation."

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that Israel will pursue the Gaza blitz to defend its interests.

"Israel has acted, is acting, and will continue to act only according to its calculations, in the interest of the security of its citizens and its right to self defense," she said.

The UN Security Council late Thursday adopted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Passed by 14 votes, the resolution calls for an "immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire", and for Israel to withdraw from Gaza.

The resolution, pressed for by Arab countries in the face of efforts by Britain, France and the United States for a more muted statement, condemns "all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism."

It urges member states to intensify efforts for arrangements and guarantees in Gaza "to sustain a durable ceasefire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the reopening of the crossing points (into Gaza)."

The British-drafted resolution also calls for the unimpeded provision humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including food, fuel and medical treatment.

It welcomes initiatives aimed at "creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid."

The United States, Israel's chief ally, abstained.

Unabated

Israeli troops continued to batter Gaza Strip with bombs and shells early Friday.

Six family members were killed when tanks shelled a house in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

Residents said that Israeli warplanes also pounded the outskirts of Gaza City.

An army spokesman said that the Israeli air force hit at least 50 targets across the bombed-out strip.

The Israeli navy also staged artillery attacks on central Gaza.

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by reposted
Friday Jan 9th, 2009 8:56 AM
The decision to adopt the Egyptian-French-American compromise may bring an end to the fighting in the Strip and create the conditions for the resumption of the peace process. A decision to reject it may, instead of causing the collapse of Hamas rule in Gaza, bring about the crash of Abbas' rule in the West Bank. And that will, by extension, destroy the road map.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1054143.html
by reposted
Friday Jan 9th, 2009 8:57 AM

It should be clear by now that Hamas' appeal only grows when Israelis attacks Palestinians. It increased when Israel insisted that occupied territory was merely "disputed," ignoring its obligations under international law, and tried to dissociate its unilateral "disengagement" from Gaza from the continuing occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Hamas appealed to circles upon circles of Palestinian youth, who, grieving for friends or relatives killed in clashes with occupation forces, or appalled by iron-fist policies, succumbed to rage or survivors' guilt. Its appeal increased in the absence of any concrete progress toward peace, indeed, when the peacemaking process seemed endlessly stalled.

Hamas' appeal spread, finally, when Palestinian economic life seemed futile, or inevitably corrupt - when a fight to the last martyr seemed the only chance at a meaningful life - or death. Give Gazans open borders, relief from grinding poverty, and business opportunities with West Bank and foreign partners and, over time, this will win over Hamas-controlled tunnels and smuggling every time. The Palestinian private sector, centered in Ramallah, has begged Israel and the international community for 18 months to allow it access to Gaza, to build new businesses. Israel refused. Tragically, many who have been killed this past week were not Hamas militants, but rather Palestinians who worked in Hamas-run ministries or institutions because they had no choice if they wanted to feed and clothe their children.

The critical point, surely, is that one cannot do in two weeks with force what you need to do over a generation with reciprocity. Even as it worked toward an overall solution to the conflict, Israel could have respected international law regarding occupation, observed the Geneva conventions, helped build Palestinian civil society, stopped settlement construction, invited international monitors, and allowed Palestinians to compete non-violently, politically, economically and socially. It could have, in short, allowed for unity and rationality in Palestinian politics. This is not, well, rocket science.

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