Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category

For Obama, No Higher Priority Than Arab-Israeli Peace

November 21, 2008

The election of Barack Obama to be the 44th president is profoundly historic. We have at long last been able to come together in a way that has eluded us in the long history of our great country. We should celebrate this triumph of the true spirit of America.

By Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Washington Post

Election Day celebrations were replicated in time zones around the world, something we have not seen in a long time. While euphoria is ephemeral, we must endeavor to use its energy to bring us all together as Americans to cope with the urgent problems that beset us.

When Obama takes office in two months, he will find a number of difficult foreign policy issues competing for his attention, each with strong advocates among his advisers. We believe that the Arab-Israeli peace process is one issue that requires priority attention.

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Israeli Tanks Move into Gaza; Mortar, Rocket Fire from Palestinian Militants

November 18, 2008

Israeli tanks forged into the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, drawing mortar fire from Palestinian militants and intensifying violence that has chipped away at a tenuous cease-fire.

By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer

Israel and Hamas have been trading fire for two weeks after nearly five months of relative quiet. The June 19 truce is due to expire next month, and both sides might be trying to dictate more favorable terms in anticipation of the agreement’s renewal.

The Israeli military described the activity as “a routine operation to uncover explosive devices near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.” It said two mortars were fired at troops, causing no injuries or damage.

Militant groups said they fired both mortars and rockets.

Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a protest in Gaza ... 
Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a protest in Gaza November 18, 2008. The rally on Tuesday was organized by the Hamas movement against the arrest of Hamas members by the security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA)

The tanks, backed by a bulldozer and military jeep, rumbled about a quarter-mile into the tiny seaside strip, residents and Gaza security officials said. Residents said they leveled lands along the border east of the city of Rafah. It was the first ground action in a week.

The tanks did not respond to the Palestinian fire.

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palestinians;_ylt=AmVOQgaLgmgkAeryU5QHwYkUewgF

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Says Wars Unlikely As World Watches Obama’s First Steps

November 18, 2008

The probability of a war between Israel and its enemies over the next year is low, military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Monday.

By The Associated Press
Jerusalem Post

 

Above: Military Intelligence Chief Maj. -Gen. Amos Yadlin.

Speaking Monday at Tel Aviv University, he said the world is waiting to see how the financial crisis plays out, and how the new US administration deals with the threat from Iran. He said Iran is Israel’s main threat, calling it “the regime with radical ideology and radical weapons.”

Yadlin surmised that Syria might make peace with Israel, but only if Israel gives in to all Syria’s demands, though even then, Syria would not cut ties with terror groups.

On the Israelן-Palestinian conflict, Yadlin said that Israel could deal with two entities, working toward peace with Fatah in the West Bank while confronting Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.

Last month, Yadlin told the cabinet that if Israel’s indirect talks with Syria were aimed at testing whether it might be possible to pull Damascus out of Iran and Hizbullah’s orbits, then so far the test had failed.

Despite the talks, not only has Damascus not lessened its cooperation with Hizbullah, it has actually stepped up its relationship with the organization.

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Hamas fires heavier rockets at Israel

November 14, 2008

Hamas Islamists fired their longest-range rockets at a southern Israeli city on Friday after an Israeli air force attack on their Gaza stronghold, in the 11th day of skirmishes threatening a five-month-old truce.

By Abed Shana, Reuters

Israeli soldiers stand atop a tank outside Kibbutz Kissufim ...
Israeli soldiers stand atop a tank outside Kibbutz Kissufim near the Gaza border November 13, 2008.(Amir Cohen/Reuters)

The armed wing of the Islamist group said it fired five Grad rockets at an Israeli city, the longest-range weapon it has claimed to shoot at the Jewish state.

Israel and Hamas blamed each other for the flare-up.

“Hamas is directly responsible for the escalation in the violence,” said Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. “Israel had wanted to see the calm that prevailed until recently prevail once again. But Hamas … are seeking a dangerous escalation.”

A Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Zahar, said “self-defense and resistance” would continue, but as far as Hamas was concerned the truce was still on, provided Israel wanted it.

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World Leaders Quick to Press Obama on Foreign Policy

November 13, 2008

Many in the world are ready and eager for change which was promised by Barack Obama and validated by the Amerian voter.  Now world leadersd have lots of ideas for Mr. Obama on what change means to them….

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev delivers a speech in Cannes, ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev delivers a speech in Cannes, southern France, during a meeting gathering business people, ahead of a Russia-EU summit in nearby Nice on November 14.(AFP/Valery Hache)

By Helene Cooper
The New York Times

The Russians want him to hold off installation of a missile defense shield in Poland. The Europeans want him to renounce the idea of “regime change” when it comes to Iran, while the Israelis want to be sure he doesn’t give Iran a pass when it comes to nuclear weapons.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Taliban, which issued a statement this week urging him to “put an end to all the policies being followed by his Opposition Party, the Republicans, and pull out U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.”

There’s a world of advice out there for President-elect Barack Obama. Within minutes of his election on Nov. 4, the calls from foreign governments began, Obama aides say, and they haven’t stopped.

While the first telephone exchanges between Mr. Obama and foreign leaders were limited to pledges of future cooperation and invitations to visit, those leaders and their underlings have also been contacting Mr. Obama’s advisers and their surrogates with suggestions for how an Obama administration should conduct, and change, American foreign policy.

There are also signs that some foreign governments are moving to alter the playing field even before Mr. Obama takes office. On Wednesday alone, North Korea said it would not allow outside inspectors to take soil samples from its main nuclear complex; Iran successfully tested a new long-range missile reportedly capable of reaching southeastern Europe; and Russia rejected an American proposal meant to assuage Russian fears over the planned missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The foreign bombardment is normal during any presidential transition, but is accelerated in this case, foreign policy experts said, because of the historic nature of Mr. Obama’s election and the sharply different course that world leaders expect him to pursue in American foreign policy.

“We have heard a lot of important ideas from our friends and allies,” said Denis McDonough, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Obama. “We consider them closely in an effort to be a partner that listens, as the President-elect shapes his agenda to advance U.S. interests from his first day in office.” But until Inauguration Day, Mr. McDonough said, the Obama team will be in a listen-only mode.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks at the Elysee Palace ...
French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that Russia and the European Union will “speak with one voice” on the financial crisis at a summit this weekend, on the eve of crunch talks with EU leaders.(AFP/Pool/Gerard Cerles)

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/washington
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What, exactly, can Israel expect from the Obama presidency?

November 8, 2008

It was the signature line of the Obama campaign, a line that said nothing but signified everything: “Yes, we can.”

It was a line that US President-elect Barack Obama, preacher-like, majestically weaved through his early campaign speeches; a line he used as a refrain to build up, crescendo-like, to the conclusion of his victory speech.

US President-elect Barack Obama speaks to the press in Chicago. ... 

It was a line that appeared in blue placards by the thousands at Obama rallies and that was put to music in a video featuring A-list celebrities.

And now, with the election come and gone and the long, arduous campaign finally over, millions of Americans and people from around the world will be asking, “So, nu, can we?” Or, more accurately, “Can he?” Can he really, as promised, change the system, repair the world and transform the way Washington does business?

Israel is one place where that question is being asked with particular interest and concern, simply because our fate and the fate of the US are so intertwined. Here government officials and the average Rafi will be asking – each in their own way – the question of moment: Can we count on Obama?

By Amir Mizroch and Herb Keinon
The Jerusalem Post

In other words, first of all, can we count on maintenance of the current level of US support and assistance?

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Carter: Hamas is willing to accept Israel as its neighbor

April 21, 2008

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM – Former President Carter said Monday that Hamas — the Islamic militant group that has called for the destruction of Israel — is prepared to accept the right of the Jewish state to “live as a neighbor next door in peace.”

But Carter warned that there would not be peace if Israel and the U.S. continue to shut out Hamas and its main backer, Syria.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter delivers a speech during ... 
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter delivers a speech during a meeting held by the Israeli Council of Foreign Relations in Jerusalem, Monday, April 21, 2008. Carter said Monday that Hamas is prepared to accept the right of Israel to ‘live as a neighbor next door in peace.’(AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

The Democratic former president relayed the message in a speech in Jerusalem after meeting last week with top Hamas leaders in Syria. It capped a nine-day visit to the Mideast aimed at breaking the deadlock between Israel and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip.

“They (Hamas) said that they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, if approved by Palestinians and that they would accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace,” Carter said.

The borders he referred to were the frontiers that existed before Israel captured large swaths of Arab lands in the 1967 Mideast war — including the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.

In the past, Hamas officials have said they would establish a “peace in stages” if Israel were to withdraw to the borders it held before 1967. But it has been evasive about how it sees the final borders of a Palestinian state and has not abandoned its official call for Israel’s destruction.

Israel, which evacuated Gaza in 2005, has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state there and in much of the West Bank. But it has resisted Palestinian demands that it return to its 1967 frontiers.

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Qatar seen bankrolling Hamas

March 5, 2008

By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times
March 5, 2008

JERUSALEM — Palestinian officials yesterday said Hamas is receiving millions of dollars from the Gulf state of Qatar, some of which they suspect is used to purchase weapons.
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The comments were issued as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s peace mission faltered under new Israeli air and ground assaults on the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ rejected her request to resume peace talks.
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Miss Rice repeatedly demanded during a visit to the region that the militant Islamist Hamas, which rules Gaza, stop launching rockets at Israeli cities.

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As Israelis Pull Out of Gaza, Hamas Celebrates Its Rocketry

March 4, 2008

By TAGHREED EL-KHODARY and ISABEL KERSHNER
The New York Times
March 4, 2008

GAZA — As Israel withdrew its forces from the northern Gaza Strip on Monday after a two-day assault on Hamas militants, and as Palestinians emerged from their houses to inspect the damage, Hamas leaders seemed to be following the playbook of their Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, in its 2006 war with Israel.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, said that like Hezbollah, Hamas had “gone from the stone to the rocket.”

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/world/middleeast/04mideast.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Bush predicts completion of Mideast treaty

January 10, 2008
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer

RAMALLAH, West Bank – President Bush on Thursday predicted that a Mideast peace treaty would be completed by the time he leaves office, but undercut that optimism with harsh criticism of Hamas militants who control part of the land that would form an eventual independent Palestine.

Bush said he’s convinced that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders understand “the importance of democratic states living side by side” in peace, and noted that he has a one-year deadline for progress on his watch.

“I’m on a timetable,” he told reporters. “I’ve got 12 months.”

He said he is not sure that the problem of Hamas, a militant Islamic group that took over the Gaza Strip in June, can be solved….

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