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Home arrow Blog arrow September 2007 arrow September 20, 2007

September 20, 2007
WAWA Blog  September 20, 2007
 Israel declares Gaza 'enemy entity' and the Blowback Begins    

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070919/ap_on_re_mi_ea/rice



Israel declares Gaza 'enemy entity'

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer Wed Sep 19

JERUSALEM - Israel declared the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip an "enemy entity" on Wednesday and said it would cut utilities to the territory, complicating the U.S. plan to relaunch peace talks aimed at establishing a separate Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.


Israel made the provocative decision hours before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived for talks setting up what President Bush hopes will be a pivotal international Mideast peace conference this fall. Rice neither endorsed nor criticized Israel's move.

Israel did not announce a date for cutoff of services. The decision is likely to reinforce perceptions among Palestinians and their Arab backers that Israel will do as it sees fit regardless of the cost to civilians, and that the U.S. will not block Israel's hand.

Rice said the United States is trying to help both sides reach "common understanding," but she did not say if the U.S.-sponsored peace meeting will address the hardest issues in the six-decade conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians, including the final borders of a Palestinians state.

The United States has not said exactly what it wants to achieve from the summit, nor who will attend.

Rice wants to recruit Arab states to reinforce the Palestinians in any deal they cut with Israel, but the peace session will carry little weight if key regional players such as Saudi Arabia choose to sit it out. The session also has little chance of success if Israel is seen as unwilling to make hard concessions to the Palestinians and the United States is seen an unable to force Israel's hand.

The U.S.-sponsored conference is meant to invigorate peace efforts that largely lay fallow during Bush's presidency, and set clear guidelines for formation of a Palestinian state.

The Gaza designation overshadowed any public talk of peace prospects as Rice began two days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Israel said the cutbacks are meant to force Palestinian militants in Gaza to halt Palestinian rocket fire on Israeli towns from launching sites in Gaza. The decision lets Israel cut electricity, water and other services that the impoverished, crowded coastal territory depends on Israel to provide.

The "enemy entity" designation could open the way for the most severe retaliatory measure yet. Israel has been carrying out airstrikes and limited ground strikes. It also has sealed Gaza's borders, halting trade in and out of the area, while permitting little more than humanitarian aid into the area.

Hamas militants who hold de facto control in Gaza have not been directly involved in the rocket attacks, but the movement has done little to halt the fire. Israel says it holds the group responsible.

Rice tried to tread carefully at a press conference with her Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Grim-faced, Rice said the United States will not turn its back on civilians in Gaza, and added that Hamas "is a hostile entity to the United States as well."

The Israeli designation covers all of Gaza, not just Hamas militants who took control of the territory in June. The United States and Israel regard Hamas as a terrorist organization and refuse to deal with it.

Livni said Israel was not obliged to deliver anything to Gaza beyond humanitarian aid.

"When it comes to the humanitarian needs, we have our own responsibilities," Livni said. "All the needs which are more than humanitarian needs will not be supplied by Israel to Gaza Strip."

Livni said the decision is legal, but international aid groups called it unacceptable to blame civilians for the actions of rogue militants.

Gisha, a human rights group that works for greater freedom of movement in Gaza, called the action "immoral and illegal, constituting prohibited collective punishment of civilians."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate leader on whom Rice and Israel have pinned reinvigorated hopes for peace, quickly condemned the Israeli move.

"This oppressive decision will only strengthen the choking embargo imposed on 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, increase their suffering and deepen their tragedy," Abbas' office said in a statement.

Abbas is locked in a bitter rivalry with Hamas, which overran his forces from his Fatah movement and seized control of Gaza. The takeover ended more than a year of paralysis in Palestinian politics, as Fatah and Hamas vied for primacy in a divided government and international aid dried up.

Abbas has installed a new government in the larger and more populous West Bank, but still claims authority over Gaza. An independent Palestinian state would include both territories, which lie on either side of Israel.

Rice met with a long list of Israeli officials on Wednesday, including the defense chief, Ehud Barak, who has hinted that Israel may have to relaunch military operations in Gaza more than two years after a unilateral pullout of Israeli forces and settlers.

Rice was seeing Abbas and other West Bank Palestinians on Thursday.



September 19, 2007

GAZA : A CALL FOR URGENT ACTION

 

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) deplores the unanimous decision by the Israeli cabinet to impose sanctions on supplies of electricity, fuel, and other basic goods and services to the civilian population of Gaza, and calls upon the international community to prevent this crime against humanity from being carried out. Indeed, the very legal framework invoked by Israel to carry out this illegal and immoral act – declaring Gaza a "hostile entity" within a "conflict short of war" – has absolutely no standing in international law. The collective punishment of an entire civilian population, by contrast, is explicitly prohibited.

We call on the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to urgently convene the Security Council in order to tell the Israeli government that this step is completely unacceptable and must be rescinded.

We call on the governments of the world, and in particular the American government and the European Parliament, to censure this decision, especially in light of recent attempts to revive the diplomatic process.

We call on the world's religious leaders to condemn this blatant violation of human rights and the most fundamental assault on human life and dignity, made especially poignant as it is being implemented during the holy month of Ramadan. As Israelis, most of whom are Jews, we call upon Jewish leaders to speak out unequivocally against this offense against Jewish values on the eve of Yom Kippur.

And we call upon the peoples of the world to let their officials and leaders know of their repudiation of this cruel, illegal and immoral act – an act that stands out in its cruelty even in an already oppressive Israeli Occupation. ICAHD condemns attacks on all civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinian. Violations of international law by governments affecting millions of people are, however, especially egregious and must be denounced.

Israel's decision to punish Gaza's civilian population, with all the human suffering that entails, constitutes State Terrorism against innocent people. Only when Israel is held accountable for its actions and international law upheld will a just peace be possible in the Middle East.

   Website: www.icahd.org

_______________________________________________________


Gush Shalom: The starving of the Gaza inhabitants is a crime and a folly
Mistreating a million and a half people will make them the most bitter of enemies.
Instead of a cruel policy of naked force, we should negotiate with all Palestinians – including Hamas

 "With our own hands we are uniting a million and half people against us, in bitterness and hatred" says Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc).  

"The inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are completely dependent on Israel for their most basic livelihood. This complete dependence was created, consciously and deliberately, by all governments of Israel since 1967. The state of Israel cannot now just shrug off its responsibility for the fate of the inhabitants of Gaza.


The people of the Gaza Strip have already been living for a long time in terrible squalor, on the very edge of starvation. Now we push them even much deeper into hell. The state of Israel is today roughly trampling International Law, in indiscriminate collective punishments of a whole civilian population. We, too, will eventually pay the price.

 This policy of force and oppression is also emptying of content the negotiations supposedly taking place with Abu Mazen and the leadership he heads, presenting him and his followers as accomplices in the terrible suffering caused to their people. There can be no peace without talking to and negotiating with the entire Palestinian people, with all its parts including the Hamas leadership, which has explicitly expressed its willingness to discuss a cease-fire and a mutual end to attacks on both sides of the Gaza border. This is the alternative to the policy of trampling force whose main proponent is Defence Minister Barak, formally leader of the Labour Party - effectively leader of the Extreme Right in Israel".  
 
   
 
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