The agreement between the U.S. and Israel to prevent the rearming of Hamas in Gaza appears to place much of the blame for recent violence on Hamas, saying “the acquisition and use of arms and related materiel by terrorists against Israel were the direct causes of recent hostilities.”
John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
The deal also ‘Unequivocally’ condemns “terrorism as unjustifiable, wherever and by whomever committed and whatever the motivation, in particular, the recent rocket and mortar attacks and other hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from Gaza by terrorist organizations.”
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The United States and Israel are signing an agreement intended to assure the Jewish state that Hamas militants will not be able to rearm if it agrees to a cease-fire to end the fighting in Gaza, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.
Rice told reporters that she and visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will sign a “memoradum of understanding” and that Rice hoped some European countries would work out similar bilateral agreements with the Israelis.
“The MOU that Foreign Minister Livni and I will sign should be thought of as one of the elements of trying to bring into being a durable cease-fire, a cease-fire that can actually hold,” Rice told reporters.
“As you know, there are a number of conditions that need to be obtained if a cease-fire is to be durable. … And among them is to do something about the weapons smuggling and the potential for resupply of Hamas from other places, including from Iran,” she added.
`This we see as part of a broader international effort on the information sharing” on how to deal with weapons shipments,” she said.
Hamas is the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip.
Rice’s chief spokesman, Sean McCormack, said later that the memorandum is about two and a half pages and is “a very general framework, underpinned by a number of understandings.” Among the understandings, he said, is a U.S. commitment of “resources, wherewithal and technology necessary in order to fulfill our part of the bargain. The essential element of this is to inhibit the ability of Hamas to rearm.”
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (L) and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) trade cheek kisses before signing a memorandum of understanding, aimed at preventing arms smuggling into Gaza, at the State Department in Washington, January 16, 2009.REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)
McCormack added: “This is an enabling condition to get to a cease-fire.”
Diplomats said earlier that the text calls for enhanced intelligence cooperation and U.S. technical and logistical support for border monitors.
The diplomats said the hope was that the agreement would satisfy Israeli concerns about reopening Gaza border crossings and will be an important piece of an Egyptian cease-fire initiative being negotiated in Cairo to end the fighting that has killed some 1,100 Palestinians since Israel launched the operation on Dec. 27. Thirteen Israelis have been killed, four by rocket fire, according to the military.
“Once this is signed, hopefully Israel will be comfortable enough to allow the border crossings to reopen,” one official said.