Archive for the ‘Gazans’ Category

Gaza: More Rockets Hit Israel; Gazans Warned of Attack in Response

February 3, 2009

After a rocket attack from Gaza into the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Tuesday morning, Israel warned Gazans that an air stike would come soon.

Knowing that Israel has promised a disproportionate response to Hamas rockets, the rockets continue to come from Gaza.

And Hamas is shooting them.

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said “that if there is rocket fire at southerners, there will be a response that will essentially be disproportionate.”

After Tuesday’s rocket attack, recorded messages, in Arabic, said people who work in tunnels, live near them or are “giving logistical help to terrorists” should evacuate the area immediately, residents said.

On Sunday, the IAF launched strikes against Hamas installations and smuggling tunnels throughout Gaza in response to the more than 15 rockets and mortar shells fired at southern Israel by Gaza terrorists throughout the day.

This aerial view shows the power station and industrial zone of Ashkelon, Israel, in March of 2008.

This aerial view shows the power station and industrial zone of Ashkelon, Israel, in March of 2008.

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/m
east/02/03/israel.rocket.attack/in
dex.html

Palestinians Can’t Agree Following Hamas Defeat at Israeli Hands

January 23, 2009

Hamas has claimed victory over Israel in the fighting that ended this week but the paucity of flag waving fighters and supporters raises serious issues about any Hamas glory.

Even the rival Fatah party in Gaza can’t find it appropriate to gloat over the proclaimed “victory” over Israel.

Hamas and Fatah are in disagreement on everything.

Hamas is accusing rival Palestinian faction Fatah of spying for Israel and not strongly enough supporting Hamas in the fight against the “Zionists.”

Fatah says Hamas relied too much on Iran for strategy and arms, irresponsibly goaded Isreal into a war with their rocket attacks on Israel, and botched the defense of the Gazan people.

CNN reported that  some in Fatah are accusing Hamas of carrying out “punishment shootings” against suspects.

“In this war, we arrested many spies and collaborators, and we will stay continuing to catch these spies and put them in jail and in court,” Ehad al-Ghossain, Hamas’ Interior Ministry spokesman, told CNN.

Peace and Freedom

Related:
Obama urges Israel, Hamas to keep peace in Gaza
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 Hamas Inflated Civilian Casualty Numbers in Gaza To Gain Sympathy, Support from Media, Iran, Arab World
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Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

 Iran Shuts BBC Persian After Network Critical of Cowardice Among Hamas
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Israel Failed: Tunnels in Gaza Again Filled With Supplies, Diggers

Iran Shuts BBC Persian After Network Critical of Cowardice Among Hamas

January 21, 2009

Iran has decided that the BBC’s Persian service is illegal.  Iranians cannot work for BBC Persian and the network is basically shut down with no broadcasting while talks ensue.

Iran says the BBC Persian is “illegal,” and little else.

BBC says the news it broadcasts on the channel is gathered from abroad, using sources within Iran.

BBC says the news it broadcasts on the channel is gathered from abroad, using sources within Iran.

But the shutdown came just after the BBC featured stories of Hamas cowardice during the war with Israel.  The BBC World Service wondered where all the Hamas fighters went while Israel”s troops and tanks moved across Gaza.

Hamas boasted about how few men it lost in the fighting.  The BBC wondered why more fighters weren’t lost to Israeli fire or even seen by the Israelis.

The BBC also wondered why a Hamas rally in Gaza on Wednesday only drew a few hundred Gazan supporters.  Such rallies in the past would include thousands of Gazans….

In Jerusalem, the Post ran news stories further linking Hamas and Iran.  The Jerusalem Post said the Hamas war plan was basically written by Iranians.  The newspaper quoted Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officials who said Israel beat Hamas and Iran in Gaza….

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meas
t/01/21/iran.bbc.persian/index.html

China Censors Obama Speech, Iran Kills BBC TV: Free Speech Under Attack

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

Hamas declares victory in Gaza claiming it lost only 48 fighters

Hamas Says They Still Control Gaza, But BBC Has Doubts

January 21, 2009

Standing on a newly formed hillside of rubble in the destroyed Jabaliya refugee camp, five young men all claim to be resistance fighters.

“All of Gaza are mujahideen,” they said.

BBC

But when asked which of them had actually fired a gun in the three week-long battle with Israel, none gave a convincing answer.

And as armed Hamas policemen return to Gaza’s street-corners and traffic-lights, many in Gaza are wondering where they were when it came to fighting the Israeli Army.

Hamas still has enough power and influence here that few will criticise the Islamist movement openly.

But when Hamas called for a rally to celebrate what it has been calling a historic victory over the Israelis, the citizens of Gaza voted with their feet – they stayed at home.

In the past Hamas could easily call tens of thousands into the streets, but this time only party stalwarts could look around the devastation and believe this could be victory.

“I think the resistance is strong,” said Beithar Ajar, 26, who described himself as a Hamas legal adviser.

“I think the Israeli army is very weak. Very weak.”

Sober appraisal

A truck with loudspeakers made a turn around Palestine Square in central Gaza city, playing Hamas battle songs.

A barker standing on the back shouted insults to Israel’s government on a microphone.

But relatively few green flags unfurled in the crowd.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7843633.stm

Gaza: Israel Announces Unilateral Cease Fire

January 17, 2009

Telling all Gazans, “Israel does not hate you,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel announced a cease fire in Gaza commencing at 2 AM (Midnight GMT) Sunday, January 18, 2009.

The announcement comes after three weeks of fighting in the coastal strip, as Israel launched a massive offensive aimed at halting years of daily rocket fire on its southern communities.
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The cease fire was announced after a rare after Sabbath meeting of the Israeli cabinet.  Cabinet members expressed opinions and voted on the cease fire.

Israel will keep troops in Gaza for an unspecified time.

“Hamas was hit hard, in its military arms and in its government institutions,” Olmert said. “If the fire stops entirely, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will weigh pulling out of Gaza at a time that befits us. If not, the IDF will continue to act to defend our residents.”
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“We can say that the conditions have been brought about that enable us to say that the aims that we laid down for the operation have been completely achieved, if not more than that,”  Olmert said. “Hamas has been dealt a very serious blow.”

But Olmert said Israel is prepared to respond if Hamas militants continue fighting in the Palestinian territory.

“If foes decide to continue to fight against us, then we will be ready and we shall consider ourselves justified in replying,” he said. “If Hamas still is not able to correctly evaluate the blow that has been inflicted on it, if it continues to attack us, it will be surprised at Israel’s determination.

“I do not suggest that Hamas or other terrorist organizations try us.”

Olmert praised and thanked Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for her tireless diplomatic efforts.  She has been the subject of death threats from anti-Israel activisits and militants.

He also thanked Defense Minister Ehud Barak for his “professionalism,” as well as a list of others including IDF troops and their commanders, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Shin Ben (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, Mossad head Meir Dagan, Israel Police and Magen David Adom.

He also noted that he had received letters from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel offering their help to end arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip.
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More than 1,100 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli offensive began on Dec. 27, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials. At least 13 Israelis have also died.

Hamas remains quiet and has apparently not agreed to the cease fire.

But the international community expects Hamas to relent for the humanitarian good of the Gazan people.

Gaza is in ruins and in desperate need of food, water, medical supplies and medical workers, sewage control and other emergency services.

Earlier Saturday:

A Hamas spokesman says the militant group will continue fighting until Israeli troops leave Gaza.

Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum made the statement Saturday as Israeli leaders met to approve an Egyptian cease-fire proposal that would halt Israel’s 22-day-old offensive but leave troops in Gaza for a 10-day cooling-off period.

Barhoum did not explicitly say whether Hamas would hold its fire if Israeli forces do leave Gaza.

His comments were in a speech aired on Hamas television in Gaza.

Our report earlier today:
 Israel: “Goal Today” Is Unilateral Cease Fire, No Matter What Hamas Says

Related:

Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090117/
ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Haaretz:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/sp
ages/1056178.html

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c
id=1232100163477&pagename=JPost%
2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Fox News Reported:

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that a unilateral cease-fire should be accompanied by a timetable for withdrawal, and a Hamas spokesman said the group would not stop fighting until Israel is out of Gaza.

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/mea
st/01/17/israel.gaza/index.html

Hamas remains defiant despite pounding

January 13, 2009

The Gaza militants embrace ‘heroic role’ as bombardment continues.

By Ilene Prusher
The Christian Science Monitor

Israeli forces continued to bombard the homes of Hamas leaders on Monday as the war in the Gaza Strip entered its 17th day. So far Israel says that at least 300 militants are among the more than 900 Palestinians killed.

But Hamas insists that it has not been significantly hurt – tactically speaking – by the onslaught. Government offices and tunnels have been destroyed. Its leaders are pinned down, unable to move freely or show their faces in public or even communicate on cellphones that can be tracked by the Israeli army. Israel recently killed Amir Mansi, commander of Hamas’s Gaza rocket division, and its stream of Qassams has dropped 50 percent since the assault began. But it is still able to launch rockets at Israel.

Has Israel decimated the Hamas leadership – and eroded its support among Gazans? Are its senior political chiefs based in Syria calling the shots and prolonging a battle that war-weary Gazans would increasingly like to see ended?

Inside Gaza, relief is needed immediately; rebuilding could take five years. Hamas in Gaza sent a three-man delegation to Cairo to work on reaching a deal. But Hamas leaders from abroad have taken a harder line, indicating that it would rather fight until the last man than agree to a cease-fire that doesn’t meet its demands.

Khaled Mashaal, the Syria-based political leader of Hamas and the man who holds more sway than any of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, says that Hamas will only agree to a truce if all border crossings are open. He rejects any new measures to prevent the smuggling of additional weapons into Gaza.

Mr. Mashaal said Monday that Hamas won’t accept “any discussion” about restricting its possession of weapons, adding, “No one has the right to limit the right of our people to look for a rifle to defend ourselves.”

Read the rest:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/011
3/p01s04-wome.html

Thousands across Middle East protest Gaza attack

January 5, 2009

Thousands protesting Israel’s ground offensive on Gaza converged Sunday in Beirut and Istanbul as the leaders of the only two Mideast Arab nations to sign peace treaties with Israel demanded an end to the attack.

In Yemen, security officials said anti-Israel protesters attacked several Jewish homes in the northern province of Omran, smashing windows and pelting them with rocks. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said at least one Jewish resident was injured among the tiny minority community.

By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer

Lebanese police used water hoses to try to push about 250 demonstrators away from the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon’s capital. When that failed, they fired tear gas, Lebanese security officials said. A second Beirut protest — a sit-in outside the U.N. building — drew thousands of supporters of Hamas and Lebanon’s Islamic Group.

In Turkey, more than 5,000 people held an anti-Israel rally in Istanbul, waving Palestinian flags and burning effigies of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President George W. Bush. Also in Istanbul, club-wielding police broke up a small demonstration by protesters who hurled eggs at the Israeli Consulate, the private Dogan news agency reported. There were no reports of arrests or injuries.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090105/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_mid
east_israel_palestinians;_ylt=AqTfoooWVJlplVIKJ8aT1_BvaA8F

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Can He Regain Gaza?

January 5, 2009

With Hamas weakened by Israel‘s Gaza offensive, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to regain a foothold in the territory he lost to the Islamic militants in 2007.

Abbas is backing international efforts to end the violence, particularly an Egyptian proposal to deploy his forces on Gaza’s borders, along with other monitors. Yet he’s lost points at home for not displaying more sympathy for battered Gazans and for being perceived as too soft on Israel.

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a PLO Executive ... 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a PLO Executive Committee meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a rival of Hamas who governs from the West Bank, condemned the Israeli invasion to the Gaza Strip as ‘brutal aggression.’ (AP Photo/Fadi Arouri, Pool)

It’s not clear whether Hamas has been weakened enough by Israel’s air and ground attacks to even consider relinquishing some power to Abbas in Gaza. Before the operation, the rivals were on a collision course, with Hamas saying Abbas’ four-year term ends Friday and that it will not recognize him after that.

Abbas is heading to the United Nations in New York on Monday, after meetings with the French president and top European diplomats in the West Bank, to lobby for a ….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090105/ap_on_
re_mi_ea/ml_palestinians_abbas__foothol
d_analysis_1

Israel in Gaza: Is the Real Target Hamas Rule?

January 3, 2009

EREZ CROSSING, on the IsraelGaza border — As Israel’s tanks and troops poured into Gaza on Saturday, the next phase in its fierce attempt to end rocket attacks, a question hung over the operation: can the rockets really be stopped for any length of time while Hamas remains in power in Gaza?

By Ethan Bronner
The New York Times
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And if the answer is determined to be no, then is the real aim of the operation to remove Hamas entirely, no matter the cost?

After her visit to Paris on Thursday to explain to French authorities why she thought this was not the time for a quick cease-fire, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel said, “There is no doubt that as long as Hamas controls Gaza, it is a problem for Israel, a problem for the Palestinians and a problem for the entire region.”

Vice Premier Haim Ramon went even further Friday night in an interview on Israeli television, saying Israel must not end this operation with Hamas in charge of Gaza.

“What I think we need to do is to reach a situation in which we do not allow Hamas to govern,” Mr. Ramon said on Channel One. “That is the most important thing.”

Neither Prime Minister Ehud Olmert nor Defense Minister Ehud Barak has made such a statement. Still, there is a growing and shared concern among Israeli leaders that any letup against Hamas would be problematic for Israel’s broad goals in the long term because it could bolster and validate the group, which says Israel should be destroyed.

“If the war ends in a draw, as expected, and Israel refrains from re-occupying Gaza, Hamas will gain diplomatic recognition,” wrote Aluf Benn, a political analyst, in the newspaper Haaretz on Friday. “No matter what you call it,” he added, “Hamas will obtain legitimacy.”

In addition, any potential truce deal would probably include an increase in commercial traffic from Israel and Egypt into Gaza, which is Hamas’s central demand: to end the economic boycott and border closing it has been facing. To build up the Gaza economy under Hamas, Israeli leaders say, would be to build up Hamas. Yet withholding the commerce would continue to leave 1.5 million Gazans living in despair.

Related:
Gaza Day 9 Sunday: Israeli Ground Troops, Tanks Join Air Assault on Hamas

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/world/
middleeast/04assess.html?_r=1&hp