Archive for the ‘Sweden’ Category

Gaza Day 11: Civilian Losses Mount; Israel Unmoved

January 6, 2009

CNN is reporting at 1200 GMT that Israel has apparently hit with bombs, rockets or artillery a school and or a refugee center in Gaza.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said the Asma Elementary school was clearly marked as a U.N. installation, Christiane Amanpour reports. It said over 400 people had been given shelter at the school when it was hit Monday night.

“Well before the current fighting, UNRWA had given to the Israeli authorities the GPS (global positioning system) co-ordinates of all its installations in Gaza, including Asma Elementary School,” the agency said in a news release.

Gaza Day 12: Egypt, France Renew Cease Fire Hope After Dozens Killed At Schools

In other Gaza news, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert told French President Sarkozy to please block the cease fire resolution in the United Nations.

Olmert also relayed that request to the European Union and others.

Sarkozy has been on a Middle East trip to find ways to broker a cease fire.

But Olmert told him until Hamas in Gaza stop sending rockets into Isreal there can be no end to the fighting.  He said Israel has acted in self defense….

Olmert also reminded Sarkozy that “Sometimes the need to find a compromise in the UN comes at Israel’s expense.”
Un representatives in Gaza showed increasing alarm at the carnage.
“There’s nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized,” said John Ging, the top U.N. official in Gaza, blaming the international community for allowing the violence to continue.

“I am appealing to political leaders here and in the region and the world to get their act together and stop this,” he said, speaking at Gaza’s largest hospital. “They are responsible for these deaths.”

Gaza: France’s Sarkozy Not Helping

Israeli Government spokesman Regev said it was all about Hamas and their rockets.

“Before the last cease-fire with Hamas began, Hamas had missiles with a range of 20 kilometers,” Regev said Tuesday. “By the end of the cease-fire, the range of the missiles grew to 40 kilometers. Israel does not want the next cease-fire to allow them to get missiles with a range of 60 kilometers.”

The human cost in Gaza continues to grow, moving more people toward the belief that a cease fire is absolutely necessary now.

The Associated Press said that on Tuesday  at least 18 people were killed in shelling up and down the strip. Only two of the dead could be immediately confirmed as militants.

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia


Israel is on its way to reoccupying all of the Gaza Strip

From the Associated Press:


From The New York Times Tuesday:
As European diplomats poured into the region seeking a cease-fire, Israel and Hamas spoke defiantly of victory. Phones in Gaza homes rang repeatedly with recorded Israeli military messages saying, “We are getting rid of Hamas.” That goes beyond the stated goals of Israel’s top leaders, who have emphasized that the operation is intended to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israel.

The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, said after a meeting with officials from the Czech Republic, Sweden and France that Israel would “change the equation” in the region. She added that in other conflicts, “countries send in forces in order to battle terrorism, but we are not asking the world to take part in the battle and send their forces in — we are only asking them to allow us to carry it out until we reach a point in which we decide our goals have been reached for this point.”

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By Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post
There is no point in bemoaning the passivity of the Bush administration, the silence of Barack Obama, the powerlessness of Arab leaders or the weakness of Europe, as so many, predictably, have begun to do. It’s no outsider’s “fault” that the fighting continues, and pretending otherwise merely obscures the real issues. Diplomats might be able to slow its progress, but this war won’t be over until someone has won.

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By IBRAHIM BARZAK and STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writers

Israeli shells slammed into Gaza and ground forces edged closer to major population centers Tuesday, taking more civilian lives after Israel ignored mounting international calls for an immediate cease-fire.


Palestinians carry the bodies of three toddlers Ahmed, Mohamed, ... 
Palestinians carry the bodies of three toddlers Ahmed, Mohamed, and Issa Samouni, who according to Palestinian medical sources were killed in an Israeli strike, during their funeral in Gaza City, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and smuggling tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, killing at least seven children as they pressed a bruising offensive against Palestinian militants.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)


Gaza Cease Fire? Israel Clarifies Tough Stand

January 5, 2009

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday that the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip was intended to “change the equation” in the region, whereby Hamas fires at Israel and Israel responds with restraint.

Speaking to reporters alongside her counterparts from the Czech Republic, France and Sweden, Livni defended Israel’s incursion into the Hamas-ruled coastal territory as a form of “legitimate self-defense.”

From Haaretz Newspaper
The foreign minister, who returned from Paris on Monday following talks with French officials, added that Israel has no choice but to retaliate when attacked.

Meanwhile, Czech FM Karel Schwarzenberg stressed the European Union’s stance that a cease-fire must be reached immediately between Israel and Gaza. Schwarzenberg said the EU rejected Israel’s approach that a truce could not be reached until the Israel Defense Forces had achieved all of its aims in Gaza.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier Monday defended Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip, saying any nation seeking to survive would have taken the same form of action.

Prior to briefing the political-security cabinet on the situation in Gaza, Barak told Israeli radio station that while Hamas has suffered great losses under Israel’s air, sea and ground offensive, many of the military’s goals had yet to be achieved.

“Hamas has so far sustained a very heavy blow from us, but we have yet to achieve our objective and therefore the operation continues,” Barak said.

“The fundamental objective is to change the reality of security for the south,” Barak said, referring to Israeli towns that have come under continuous Palestinian rocket attack from Gaza.

“We are striving for a new reality in which there won’t be activity from Gaza against Israeli civilians or our soldiers, a situation which will dramatically change the state of smuggling and in which quiet will prevail in the south,” Barak added.

The defense minister also said he was certain that Israel would end its operation in Gaza “with an upper hand.” He added that Israel was engaged in diplomatic contacts with international officials regarding the operation.

As part of an eventual halt to the fighting, Israel is seeking help from international and regional partners to increase security along Gaza’s border with Egypt to prevent Hamas from rebuilding tunnels and rearming.

“It is clear Hamas cannot be allowed to rearm and we have to find workable solutions to prevent that rearming. And here our international and regional partners have a role to play,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

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