Monday, March 3, 2008

Meanwhile, in Gaza

Israel continues its war against the Gaza strip for having voted the wrong way.
Israel was facing widespread international condemnation yesterday for its onslaught in Gaza, as the UN and EU demanded an end to a "disproportionate" response to Palestinian rocket attacks, which were also denounced. Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, rejected the criticism and vowed to press on with the offensive, which has claimed an estimated 100 Palestinian lives in the past five days.

Early today, after clashing with militants and making arrests yesterday, Israel moved more troops into northern Gaza and five Hamas militants were killed in nine airstrikes.

On Saturday alone, some 60 people were killed, the biggest Palestinian casualty toll since the second intifada broke out more than seven years ago. "Nothing will prevent us from continuing operations to protect our citizens," Olmert said. Two Israeli soldiers and one civilian have also been killed in the violence.

Human casualties apart, western governments expressed alarm at the decision by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and bitter rival of the Hamas Islamists in Gaza, to freeze all contacts with Israel, putting the already moribund peace process at greater risk. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said: "For the time being, negotiations are suspended because we have so many funerals."

Britain reacted by calling on Palestinians and Israelis to "step back from the brink". David Miliband, the foreign secretary, said: "Israel's right to security and self-defence is clear and must be reiterated and supported. But measures taken in response to rockets must be in accordance with international law, minimising the suffering for innocent civilians and maximising the scope for political negotiations to be restarted."

With Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, due in Jerusalem tomorrow, a White House spokesman said: "The violence needs to stop and the talks need to resume."

Arab states were united in outrage. Pro-western Jordan, which, like Egypt, has a peace treaty with Israel, called the Gaza operations a "flagrant violation" of international law. Saudi Arabia, which brokered last year's revived Arab initiative backing peace with Israel, condemned what it called "mass killings".
Much more deserves to be written on this topic (and time permitting, it will), but I figured I'd just link to the story for now. There are few situations that make me more depressed than this one, mainly because I think its very probable that the US' Israel policy won't change in my lifetime.

No comments:

Post a Comment