Tag Archives: border crossings

Israel And Hamas “Welcome” A Cease Fire

Israel and Hamas both “welcomed”–but did not accept– an Egyptian-French plan for a cease fire agreement. The United States finally placed some pressure on Israel to agree to a cease fire as Secretary of State Condi Rice telephoned Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and urged an end to the fighting. However, Rice also added: “Our goal must be the stabilization and normalisation of life in Gaza.” But any cease fire “has to be a solution that does not allow the rearmament of Hamas.” Egyptian president Mubarak was reportedly trying to get a 48 hour cease fire to provide time to work out details of a longer term agreement. Hamas made clear it would insist that Israel forces withdraw from Gaza and open all crossings. Hamas leaders did not make any promises of halting rocket attacks.

The proposed plan includes such ideas as:

A cease fire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

An international presence on the border of Gaza that might include American, Turkish and European Union soldiers.

The reality is no cease fire will last unless Hamas ends its rocket attacks once and for all. At the same time if rocket attacks end, Israel must open all border crossings.

Conflict Continues In Gaza

The Gaza situation took another turn as Egyptian troops opened fire on Gazans demanding that Egypt open the border to allow needed supplies to enter. About sixty people were wounded in the melee. Kassam rockets continued being fired, Israel slightly relaxed the blockade, and the UN began discussing the situation. A UN discussion must include all facets of the issues ranging from closing borders to prevent supplies from entering to the firing of rockets at civilian targets in Israel. To discuss one without the other leads only to failure at identifying solutions. On a more hopeful note, President Abbas said he would continue negotiations for peace with Israel. Abbas even offered to assume control over Gaza if Hamas would allow this to happen.

Secretary of state Rice urged Israel not to provoke a humanitarian crisis by halting shipment of needed supplies into Gaza. The International Red Cross warned medical supplies were running out and urged an end to the embargo on shipment of needed materials. Israeli tanker trucks were already pumping needed fuel into Gaza.

A group of Israel Arabs gathered at the Erezx border crossing to urge an end to the blockade and found themselves engaged in violent arguments with right wing Israel extremists. A possible outcome of the continuing crisis in Gaza is to radicalize Israel Arab youth who may well identify with the people of Gaza. It is the view of this blog that silence is not golden. There is need for all parties, including Hamas, to become engaged in dialogue. This dialogue should also include members of the Arab League who have a stake ensuring that peace exists in the Gaza area.