Archive for the ‘unilateral’ Category

Gaza: International Opinion: You Hate Them Or You Don’t

January 18, 2009

In general, this Opinionator shies away from putting pieces from The Times front and center. But it’s hard to stay away from the Israeli action in Gaza as the topic of the week, and the M.S.M. opinion-page bombshell was clearly The Times Op-Ed page on Wednesday, which featured a lengthy article by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic entitled “Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas” snuggled in next to Thomas L. Friedman’s column, “Israel’s Goals in Gaza?”

By Tobin Harshaw
The New York Times

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, never shy of overstatement, wasn’t even close to being the most vitriolic voice on the left side of the blogosphere when he called Goldberg “one of the nation’s leading (and most deceitful) progandists” intent on pushing “the joys and glories of this latest Middle East war.” (The vitriol award probably goes to the former New York Observer blogger Philip Weiss. )

Seeing as my readership is more than familiar with Tom Friedman’s work and he has his own comments section on the site, I’m going to focus on Jeff Goldberg and the discussion he spawned across the Web. (Disclosure: I had nothing to do with the commissioning or editing of “Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas” although I have worked with the writer in the past.) The piece raises what for many will be the $64,000 question once the fighting in Gaza subsides: “As the Gaza war moves to a cease-fire, a crucial question will inevitably arise, as it has before: Should Israel (and by extension, the United States) try to engage Hamas in a substantive and sustained manner?”

Goldberg feels that while it’s “a fair question, one worth debating” it is “unmoored from certain political and theological realities.” He explains:

Read the rest:
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009
/01/17/weekend-opinionator-the-battle-ov
er-the-battle-in-gaza/

Day One of Gaza Cease Fire Punctuated by Rockets, Small Arms

January 18, 2009

Hours after an Israeli unilateral cease-fire had begun in Gaza, militants fired four rockets into southern Israel and exchanged gunfire with Israeli troops.

Hamas operatives in the Beit Lahiya area shot at soldiers, who returned fire. An IAF helicopter then shot the gunmen, the IDF reported.

Qassam rockets were fired into Sderot at 9 a.m. — seven hours after Israel’s cease-fire went into effect. The rockets did not injure anyone, and Israeli aircrafts destroyed the rocket launcher soon afterward, an Israeli military spokesman said.

The gunfire exchange in northern Gaza occurred after Palestinian gunmen opened fire on Israeli forces, the Israeli military said. Troops returned fire.

Saturday night, Israel announced a unilateral cease fire which began at midnight GMT.  Sunday has been largely quiet.

But how long will the quiet last?  That seems up to Hamas.

An Israeli soldier holds up an Israeli flag after leaving Gaza on Sunday.

An Israeli soldier holds up an Israeli flag after leaving Gaza on Sunday.

Israeli soldiers celebrate after leaving the Gaza Strip into ... 
Israeli soldiers celebrate after leaving the Gaza Strip into Israel, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009. Israel declared a unilateral cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on Sunday meant to end three devastating weeks of war against militants who have traumatized southern Israel for years with rocket attacks. But hours after the truce took hold, militants fired a volley of rockets into Israel, threatening to reignite the violence.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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“Israel will only act in response to attacks by Hamas, either rockets into Israel or firing upon our forces,” government spokesman Mark Regev said. “If Hamas does deliberately torpedo this cease-fire, they are exposing themselves before the entire international community as a group of cynical extremists that have absolutely no interest in the well-being of the people of Gaza.”

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, shakes hands with ... 
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, right, at a press conference following a meeting of the security cabinet at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009. Israel’s leaders voted late Saturday to halt an offensive that has killed nearly 1,200 people, turned the streets and neighborhoods of the Gaza Strip into battlegrounds and dealt a stinging blow to the Islamic militants of Hamas.(AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Related:

The Associated Press reported:
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Israel stopped its offensive before reaching a long-term solution to the problem of arms smuggling into Gaza, one of the war’s declared aims. And Israel’s insistence on keeping soldiers in Gaza raised the prospect of a stalemate with the territory’s Hamas rulers, who have said they would not respect any truce until Israel pulls out.

The military warned in a statement early Sunday that Israeli forces would retaliate for attacks against soldiers or civilians and that “any such attack will be met with a harsh response.”

The cease-fire went into effect just days ahead of President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration Tuesday. Outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration welcomed Israel’s decision and a summit set for later Sunday in Egypt is meant to give international backing to the truce.

Leaders of Germany, France, Spain, Britain, Italy, Turkey and the Czech Republic — which holds the rotating European Union presidency — are expected to attend along with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

Ban welcomed the Israeli move and called on Hamas to stop its rocket fire. “Urgent humanitarian access for the people of Gaza is the immediate priority,” he said, declaring that “the United Nations is ready to act.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090118/a
p_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Protest in Iran 
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How long can the Gaza cease fire last?  Above: Women at a Tehran stadium last week hold portraits of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. Hezbollah declined to get involved in the Gaza conflict, despite entreaties by Hamas. Atta Kenare / AFP/Getty Images

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

January 17, 2009

“After three weeks of Operation Cast Lead, we are very close to reaching the goals and securing them through diplomatic agreements,” Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during a visit to the south of the country, according to a statement from his office.

“The goal is to announce, subject to cabinet approval, a suspension of military activities because we believe our goals have been attained,” said an Israeli official, asking not to be named.

“There is no agreement with Hamas,” the Israeli official said, adding that Israel would reserve the right to act if Hamas continued firing or launched rockets across the border.

Read this to mean: we are the victors and can stop the fighting with dignity, honor and security.

Israel’s cabinet will vote on a cease fire late Saturday, says Mark Regev, Prime Minister Olmert’s press spokesman.

But what about Hamas, Israel’s partner in this battle?

“Hamas is not a nation. They are terrorists,” one Israeli official told us.  “They refuse to negotiate and swear an oath to destroy us.  How do we negotiate with them?”Hamas leaders are following the lead of President Ahmadinejad in Iran.  Leaders in Iran and Hamas refuse to say “Israel;” referring only to the “Zionist state.”

Related:
Gaza Day 22: Hamas Threatens “We Will Continue Battle,” Meanwhile Israel Talks “Unilateral Cease Fire”

Egypt is at the moment considering whether to organize a summit in the near future in Cairo between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA reported on Saturday that Mubarak has invited French President Nicholas Sarzoky and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for talks on how to end the Gaza offensive.

This is shaping up as a peace conference of sorts where one war participant doesn’t even get a seat at the table….

Israel’s Likud Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said in interview, “We must prevent the firing of Hamas rockets and we must seal off the southern corridore so no future rockets can come in and be fired against Israel.”

Netanyahu video:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellit
e?pagename=JPost/Page/VideoPlayer
&cid=1194419829128&videoId=1231
950866043

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

Related from AP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090117/a
p_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Reuters:
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews
/idUSTRE5053R720090117?feedType=
RSS&feedName=topNews

Gaza Day 22: Hamas Threatens “We Will Continue Battle,” Meanwhile Israel Talks “Unilateral Cease Fire”

January 17, 2009

Hamas reiterated its determination to continue its attacks against Israel despite the possibility of an Israeli cabinet decision on  Saturday Night to accept a unilateral cease-fire after three weeks of fighting in the Gaza Strip. 

Sami Abu Zuhri said Saturday that Hamas militants would keep fighting.

Related:
Iranian cleric calls for Israel’s Tzipi Livni to be shot

Related:
Israel Close to Declaration of Victory, Unilateral Cease Fire, No Matter What Hamas Says

Hamas “will not bow to invading forces, will not raise the white flag,” he said. “We will continue fighting despite our limited means.”
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Zuhri was speaking in Istanbul where Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan said this week that israel should not be permitted in the United nations for ignoring UN resolutions.

Ghazi Hamdan, based in Gaza said Hamas has a clear vision that includes ending the “aggression,” a withdrawal of Israeli forces, an end to the siege and opening of the crossings.

“If any vision does not achieve these things, then we will continue in the battle on the ground,” he said.
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Meanwhile, Israeli forces pounded dozens of Hamas targets  Saturday as the army kept up pressure on the Islamic militant group.

And Israel said its cabinet would vote Saturday night on a possible unilateral cease fire.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

From our Earlier report:
Gaza Day 22: High Expectations for Cease Fire but Fighting Rages Still

Tonight the Israel cabinet will meet to vote on a cease fire worked out by Egypt, France, Britain and others with input from Hamas and Israel.

But key to the cease fire is what Israel really wants: a Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday by the U.S. and Isreal to prevent the rearming of Hamas by smuggling.

For two days Hamas has offered differing versions of its intentions, first agreeing to a cease fire and then rejecting provisions and continuing to send rockets into Israel.
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Earlier Friday, Hamas’ Syrian-based political chief Khaled Mashaal rejected Israeli conditions for a truce and demanded an immediate opening of the besieged territory’s borders.

Mashaal  called on all Arab countries to cut ties with the Jewish state during a summit of Arab leaders in Doha, Qatar.

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Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/me
ast/01/17/israel.gaza/index.html

From the Times (UK):
Under the ceasefire plan, fighting would stop immediately for 10 days, but Israeli forces would initially remain in Gaza and the border crossings into the territory would remain closed until security arrangements were made to ensure Hamas militants did not rearm.

Salam Kanaan, Save the Children’s country director, who is based in Jerusalem, said: “Save the Children is now preparing to go into Gaza as soon as crossings open and the green light is given.

“Around three quarters of a million people there are dependent on food aid. More than 3,000 women have given birth, often with little support. And there has been absolutely no support for children suffering from the stress they have been subjected to in recent weeks. We’re poised, ready to get in there and deliver fast.”

Read more:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wo
rld/middle_east/article5535747.ece

Gaza Day 22: High Expectations for Cease Fire but Fighting Rages Still

January 17, 2009

 Israeli aircraft pounded 50 Hamas positions early Saturday.

The meaning is not to be misunderstood: Israel wants Hamas to make a decision on peace or war.
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“This yet again illustrates that there is no place safe in the Gaza Strip,” said Chris Gunness, a U.N. spokesman. “This fighting has to stop because innocent people, women and children, who are taking refuge in neutral U.N. buildings are discovering that there is nowhere safe.”

Israel will make a decision this evening, Saturday, the 22nd day of conflict, to accept a cease fire or continue the fighting.

Tonight the Israel cabinet will meet to vote on a cease fire worked out by Egypt, Frace, Britain and others with input from Hamas and Israel.

But key to the cease fire is what Israel really wants: a Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday by the U.S. and Isreal to prevent the rearming of Hamas by smuggling.

For two days Hamas has offered differing versions of its intentions, first agreeing to a cease fire and then rejecting provisions and continuing to send rockets into Israel.
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Earlier Friday, Hamas’ Syrian-based political chief Khaled Mashaal rejected Israeli conditions for a truce and demanded an immediate opening of the besieged territory’s borders.

Mashaal  called on all Arab countries to cut ties with the Jewish state during a summit of Arab leaders in Doha, Qatar.
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad gave Mashaal their full backing, but significantly, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia boycotted the summit.

Now, Isreal says its cabinet will vote tonight on a unilateral cease fire.

Alalysts say the decision may mean that Israel has decided to end the operation in Gaza, “Cast Lead,” without an agreement with Hamas, relying instead on the support of the United States and Egypt.

Most insiders in Israel say Israel will end the fighting unilaterally on Saturday evening, and respond with “certain force” to any Hamas provocation.
Israel so strongly believed in the U.S. offer to prevent the rearming of Hamas that a trip was hastily put together Thursday to allow Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to be at the U.S. State Department for a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday.  The two inked the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the prevention of the rearming of Hamas.

Related:
U.S., Israel Sign Agreement Aimed At Preventing Rearmed Gaza, Hamas
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Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after signing a deal on stopping the flow of arms to Hamas. Shawn Thew/European Pressphoto Agency

The MOU  ‘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.”

Livni called the deal, reached on the final working day of the Bush administration, “a vital complement for a cessation of hostility.” It paved the path for Saturday night’s vote in the 12-member Security Cabinet.

Under the deal, Egypt would shut down weapons smuggling routes with international help and discussions on opening Gaza’s blockaded border crossings — Hamas’ key demand — would take place at a later date.

By John E. Carey

Related:
 Israel Expected To Begin “Unilateral Gaza Cease Fire,” End Fighting Saturday

From The Associated Press
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090117/a
p_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/
meast/01/17/israel.gaza/index.html

From al Arabia:
Gaza assault rages on as Israel prepares truce

The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/17/
world/middleeast/17mideast.html?_r=1&hp

Humanitarian Situation in Gaza Worsens

PARIS (Reuters) – Medecins Sans Frontieres’ doctors cannot reach sick and injured civilians in Gaza because of Israel’s bombing campaign and may have to pull out if the security situation worsens, officials from the aid group said yesterday.Three weeks into a major offensive that has killed more than 1,200 Palestinians, Israeli forces have pushed deep into the city of Gaza despite international pressure on their government.

Flares are seen during an Israeli military operation in the ... 
Flares are seen during an Israeli military operation in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Friday Jan. 16, 2009. Israel’s Security Cabinet will vote Saturday night on an Egyptian proposal for a truce to end the 3-week-old offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers, a senior government official said.The official said a vote to approve the truce would amount to a ‘unilateral’ cease-fire, though Israeli forces would only leave Gaza after an official declaration that the fighting was over. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Israel Expected To Begin “Unilateral Gaza Cease Fire,” End Fighting Saturday

January 16, 2009

Israel is saying its cabinet will vote on a unilateral cease fire in Gaza tomorrow, Saturday.

Alalysts say the decision may mean that Israel has decided to end the operation in Gaza, “Cast Lead,” without an agreement with Hamas, relying instead on the support of the United States and Egypt.

Most insiders in Israel say Israel will end the fighting unilaterally on Saturday evening, and respond with “certain force” to any Hamas provocation.

Haaretz reported that “A government source emphasized that there has been great progress with Egypt in reaching an agreement on fighting arms smuggling. The deal would require the combined use of technological measures to fight smuggling on the border between Gaza and Egypt, operations against smugglers in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, and the use of international experts to identify smuggling tunnels on the border. ”

Israel also believed that the U.S. offer to prevent the rearming of Hamas merited a trip by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to the U.S. State Department for a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  The two inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the prevention of the rearming of Hamas.

Related:
U.S., Israel Sign Agreement Aimed At Preventing Rearmed Gaza, Hamas

“We have what we need not.  Hamas has agreed not to shoot rockets.  And the United States and Egypt have agreed to not allow the rearming of Hamas.  It is not perfect but it is a good outcome,” one senior Israeli told us.

Israel’s decision is being welcomed by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and others who have been urging an end to the fighting.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L) shakes hands with ... 
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (L) shakes hands with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during their meeting in Tel Aviv January 15, 2009, in this picture released by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO).

The decision to start a cease fire unilaterally would avoid a prolonged and difficult negotiation with Hamas, an organization that has vowed to destroy Israel.

The Jerusalem Post said, “A unilateral decision is likely after Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal rejected Israel’s conditions for a truce and called on all Arab countries to cut ties with the Jewish state during a summit of Arab leaders in Doha, Qatar. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad gave Mashaal their full backing, but significantly, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia boycotted the summit.”

Turkey said today that Israel should not be allowed to return to the U.N., adding another nation to the anti-Israeli faction.
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“How is such a country, which totally ignores and does not implement resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, allowed to enter through the gates of the UN (headquarters)?” Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan said during a meeting at the ruling AK Party’s headquarters in Ankara Friday.
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According to Israeli radio, Cairo will host a truce summit on Sunday with Israeli officials and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expected to attend. Israeli television said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would attend.

The Israeli “unilateral” vote was set hours after the U.S. agreed to provide assurances on ending weapons smuggling into Gaza as part of a cease-fire, the Associated Press noted.

AFP reported that Russia has called on Iran and Syria to persuade Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to accept a plan pushed by Egypt to end the fighting in Gaza, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

“We are sending the appropriate signals to Hamas representatives and to those states that have influence on Hamas, meaning above all Iran and Syria,” of the need to accept the Egyptian plan, Lavrov said at a news conference.
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Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/meast/01/16/israel.gaza/index.html

From the Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?ci
d=1232100163477&pagename=JPost%2
FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009011
6/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Related:
Gaza Cease Fire: Now What?

AFP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090116/wl_mid
east_afp/mideastconflictgazarussia_200901161
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