Thursday, January 24, 2008

Whose fault is the Gaza Crisis?

From VOA, by Margaret Besheer, United Nations, 23 January 2008:

Statement on Gaza Stalls in UN Security Council

Following a day of debate, the U.N. Security Council could not agree on language for a statement condemning the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip. ...The draft statement circulating among the 15-member council expresses concern about "the steep deterioration of the humanitarian situation" in Gaza due to Israel's continued closure of all border crossings, and the cutting of electricity and reduction of fuel to the Palestinian territory's one and a half million residents. But it fails to mention the hundreds of rockets Hamas militants have fired into southern Israel in the last week.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he could not support the Libyan-authored draft as it stands. "As is, it is not does not talk about the rocket attacks, the attacks on innocent Israelis."

The U.N.'s political chief, Lynn Pascoe, told the council that the situation in Gaza and southern Israel has escalated dramatically since the 15 of January, when an Israeli air and ground offensive killed 19 Palestinians, most of them militants. The offensive was in response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel....

.... Israel's delegate, Gilad Cohen, said the situation in Gaza did not develop overnight, but was the result of what he said were "wrong choices" the Palestinians have made to adopt terrorism and violence over peace and negotiations with Israel. He said Israel faces an "impossible situation" but would protect its citizens from these rocket attacks.

...and from Ynet, 22/1/08, by Dana Zimmerman and Roni Sofer:

European Commissioner for Justice Freedom and Security: Israel has right to defend itself against Qassam rockets, expresses regret at EU treatment of Israel.

... In a briefing to Israeli reporters Tuesday, European commissioner for Justice Freedom and Security, Frano Frattini, said that the steps leading up to the Gaza blackout cannot be construed as a war crime and criticized the incessant Qassam rocket fire on Israeli civilian population centers.

.... “There has been a large misunderstanding in recent years between Europe and Israel. And Israel is justified in its concerns. For too long, Europe has put too much blame on Israel for lack of peace with the Palestinians. We, as Europeans, should have understood Israel's concerns sooner,” said Frattini.

The European official also noted that “as friends, it was our duty to criticize when we felt criticism was needed, but we did it too often and unfairly. We asked you to take risks and often we didn’t provide you with assurances that you wouldn't stand alone if things went badly.”
Frattini continued to say that, “Europe's attitude towards Israel is changing, and Europe better Today, Europe better understands the complexities of the Middle East landscape.” ....

...and from Haaretz, 22/01/2008 By Cnaan Liphshiz:

Dutch Foreign Minister says Israel unfairly singled out for criticism by UN

...Visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told Haaretz Monday that the singling out of Israel for criticism in international forums was unfair. "It is not acceptable to focus on Israel time after time, while other countries like Sudan do not receive any reference whatsoever at the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly in New York," Verhagen said in an interview.

"I would like to set the record straight on Israel." Interviewed in his suite at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, the Dutch foreign minister said he has pursued "a more internationally balanced approach" to Israel and has conditioned Dutch support for resolutions criticizing Israel upon condemnations for Hamas' actions. .....

.... A member of the ruling Christian Democratic Appeal party, the minister said his cabinet "would never negotiate with Hamas for as long as it calls for the destruction of Israel and as long as it doesn't give up on violence as a tool." Although some of the CDA's coalition partners have called for opening ties to Hamas, Verhagen said the Netherlands "should never give a veneer of legitimacy to the shelling of civilians and blowing up of buses - and this is the opinion of both the government and the majority of the Dutch parliament." ....

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