Archive for Gaza

Israel urges Gaza aid efforts not break Hamas boycott

Posted in Arabs, Christianity, Hate, Islam, Israel, Israeli, Jewish History, Middle East, News, racism, Religion, Uncategorized, War, Warfare, World News with tags , , , , on February 26, 2009 by Michael Burks

http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandidateFeed1/idUSTRE51P61Z20090226

 

TEL AVIV, Israel (Reuters) – Israel urged world leaders on Thursday to provide aid to the Gaza Strip without breaking a diplomatic boycott of Hamas Islamists who control the coastal territory.

 

“There is a need to help in Gaza without granting legitimacy to Hamas,” Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said in Tel Aviv after talks with visiting U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

 

The United States, Israel and European Union, have shunned dialogue with Hamas, citing its refusal to renounce violence and to recognize Israel and past peace agreements.

 

But some Western officials have urged in recent days to include Hamas in peace efforts. On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said talking to Hamas was the “right thing to do.”

 

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayypip Erdogan added his voice on Thursday, telling Mitchell who visited Ankara before Tel Aviv Washington should engage Hamas for the sake of peace efforts.

 

“Even though we do not approve Hamas’ methods, Hamas should not be excluded from the peace process and should be integrated into the political system and the peace process,” a Turkish official who was at the talks said.

 

Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in 2007 from Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after winning a parliamentary election a year earlier.

 

Mitchell, preceding a visit next week by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was in the region to explore ways to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and to rebuild Gaza after a devastating Israeli offensive against Hamas last month.

 

Clinton would also attend a conference of Western donors in Egypt next week that will seek ways to raise some $2.8 billion dollars estimated as needed for relief work in coastal Gaza.

 

More than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the month of fighting in the territory that ended with a shaky truce in mid-January.

 

Israel, which controls most of Gaza’s crossings, has blocked the passage of cement and steel needed to rebuild since the war, allowing in only the most vital humanitarian supplies, saying this was aimed at preventing Hamas from rearming.

 

Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, called on Israel to lift these restrictions on Thursday.

 

An ICRC statement from Geneva said some 2,800 homes were destroyed and a further 1,900 were damaged in the Israeli offensive and that many Palestinians there now lacked water, medicine and housing.

 

“The first and most urgent measure should be to end the isolation of Gaza, particularly by lifting restrictions on the movement of people and goods,” Kellenberger said.

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Iran tones down – proves they are cowards

Posted in Christianity, Islam, Israel, Israeli, Jewish History, Middle East, News, Religion, Uncategorized, World News with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2009 by Michael Burks

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/13/mideast/tehran.php

Israelis pull into Gaza

Posted in Christianity, Islam, Israel, Israeli, Jewish History, News, World News with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2009 by Michael Burks

Full story here

Israeli troops have entered the suburbs of Gaza City and are engaged in street fighting with militants, reports say.

Witnesses said Israeli special forces had advanced several hundred metres into several neighbourhoods and that intense gunfire could be heard.

Earlier, Israeli planes attacked more targets in Gaza as Israel’s offensive against Hamas entered an 18th day.

A UN watchdog meanwhile accused Israel of showing a “manifest disrespect” for the protection of children in Gaza.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said more than 40% of those killed in Gaza were women or children, even though the Israeli government had signed a UN protocol condemning attacks on places where children were likely to be present.

The attacks would have a severe emotional and psychological effect on an entire generation of children in Gaza, it added.

A Palestinian human rights group earlier said more than 90,000 people had fled their homes during the conflict.

Palestinian medical officials say more than 40 people were killed on Tuesday, and that the emergency services have been unable to reach many of the areas targeted by the Israeli military.

They say that since the offensive began on 27 December, 971 people have been killed in Gaza – of whom 311 were children and 76 were women – and more than 4,400 people have been injured.

Thirteen Israelis have died, three of them civilians, Israel says.

Despite the Israeli offensive, militants in Gaza have kept up rocket attacks on southern Israel. The Israeli army said on Tuesday that 25 mortars and rockets had been fired out of Gaza and that Israeli war planes had carried out more than 50 air strikes since the morning.

Israel says it will not call off its offensive until it has stopped the rocket attacks and prevented arms being smuggled into Gaza.

Israeli troops enter the Gaza Strip (12.1.09)
Israel wants to stop militants firing rockets across the Gaza border

Talat Jad, a resident of the Gaza City suburb of Tal al-Hawa, said he and 15 members of his family had gathered in one room of their house, too frightened to look out of the window.

“We even silenced our mobile phones because we were afraid the soldiers in the tanks could hear them,” he said.

Analysts say Israel may be holding back from all-out urban warfare in Gaza City.

Intense street fighting could complicate truce efforts and cause heavy casualties on both sides, which they say would be a politically risky move less than a month before Israel’s parliamentary election.

Diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire are continuing in Cairo, where Egyptian mediators are pressing Hamas – which controls the Gaza Strip – to accept a truce proposal.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak also made an unannounced visit on Tuesday to Saudi Arabia, where he discussed the situation with King Abdullah.

The BBC’s Magdi Abdelhadi in Cairo says the meeting indicates that Egypt is seeking Saudi Arabia’s help in persuading Hamas to accept a ceasefire.

Earlier, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said any agreement would have to entail a halt to Israeli attacks, a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces and the opening of border crossings to end the blockade of Gaza.

However, the Israeli foreign ministry said there was no guarantee that Hamas would respect any ceasefire agreement.

Hospital visit

Earlier, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, visited Gaza to see the humanitarian situation for himself.

Speaking on a tour of Gaza’s main hospital, Mr Kellenberger said he had been saddened by what he had witnessed.

“I wanted to see this hospital and I can only say this is really very sad and it hurts a lot when you see what I’ve just seen,” he said.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the military operation would continue in order to stop Hamas rockets being fired into Israel and to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza.

“We are working towards those two goals while at the same time keeping an eye on the diplomatic initiatives,” he said during a tour of an Israeli air force base.

Destroyed building in Gaza City

Thousands of people have abandoned their homes to escape the offensive

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of trying to “wipe out” his people.

“This is the 18th day of the Israeli aggression against our people, which has become more ferocious each day as the number of victims rises,” he said.

“Israel is keeping up this aggression to wipe out our people over there.”

US Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton said in her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that the Obama administration would make “every effort” to forge Israeli-Palestinian peace.

“The president-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel’s desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets,” she said.

“However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.”

The Al-Mizan Centre for Human Rights, a Palestinian group, said that more than 90,000 people had abandoned their homes to escape the Israeli bombardment.

After Lebanon fiasco, Israel talks down Gaza aims

Posted in Christianity, Jewish History, Religion with tags , , , on January 5, 2009 by Michael Burks

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE50435V20090105

By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent – Analysis

 

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Israel, pursuing ground attacks in the Gaza Strip to inflict maximum damage on Hamas before any ceasefire, has avoided setting over-ambitious goals, making it harder for its Palestinian foe to claim survival as a victory.

 

Hamas wants to emulate Hezbollah’s robust showing in the 2006 Lebanon war when it held off Israel’s military might for 34 days. But it lacks the strategic depth, arsenal and capabilities of the Shi’ite Islamist guerrillas, security analysts say.

 

But whatever its military weakness, the Islamist movement will not vanish. It will seek to fight another day, portraying its struggle to Arabs and Muslims as a beacon for resistance.

 

Israel’s challenge is to convert its military superiority into political and long-term security gains — without getting sucked into gritty street fighting that would risk significant military losses as well as more carnage among hapless civilians.

 

“The fundamental objective is to change the reality of security in the south,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday, referring to Israeli towns targeted by Hamas rockets.

 

A senior Israeli military official on Sunday talked of a prolonged operation “to hit Hamas infrastructure as much as we can (and) decrease the number of rockets.”

 

Israeli leaders have refrained from promising an end to all rocket fire from Gaza or the overthrow of Hamas rule there.

 

Yezid Sayigh, a Palestinian analyst at Kings College London, said Israeli leaders were avoiding the mistakes of the Lebanon war when grandiose stated objectives to destroy Hezbollah and eliminate its rocket arsenal set them up for failure.

 

“This doesn’t mean they won’t be flexible,” he said. “They might have a range of objectives. Depending on how things unfold, they could go for the top or the bottom of the range.

 

However, without a full-scale invasion of Gaza, Israel was tacitly accepting that Hamas would stay in place, Sayigh added.

 

Israel has said it has no intention to reoccupy the Gaza Strip. It withdrew its troops and settlers in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but kept tight control of the enclave’s borders. Hamas drove its Fatah rivals out in June 2007.

 

“The Israelis want to divide Gaza into slices, cut communications between them and then go for search and destroy missions, without really engaging in all-out urban warfare,” said Timur Goksel, a Beirut-based academic and former adviser to U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon.

 

“STARK CHOICE”

 

Israeli warplanes and gunships pounded the Gaza Strip for eight days — possibly running out of pre-determined targets — before the ground incursions against Hamas. A six-month ceasefire with the Islamist movement had expired on December 19.

 

Sayigh said the ground troops could occupy open areas and destroy any Hamas tunnels or weapons caches there, but would have to probe into built-up areas to pursue trained fighters.