Sunday, January 4, 2009

Israel Invades Gaza, Blocks Ceasefire

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Jan 4 (IPS) - Israel launched a ground incursion into Gaza late Saturday night, ending a week of speculation whether a ground assault would follow a week's intensive bombardment of Gaza from the air and coast.

Simultaneously, Israeli officials in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction at a U.S. veto of a draft UN Security Council resolution, put together by Libya, which outlined a proposed ceasefire......

While vetoing Libya's draft for an immediate ceasefire, the U.S. has been engaged in intensive efforts with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to formulate a framework to end the fighting. But this would be on terms very much to Israel's advantage. The U.S. is particularly interested in stopping the rockets from Gaza, and in return Israel would halt military incursions.

This still fails to address the issue of border closures which have created a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. The U.S. wants the borders open for humanitarian aid, but within a framework of Palestinian Authority (PA) soldiers and EU observers monitoring the crossings. Under this plan the PA would replace Hamas as Israel desires, something Hamas will not accept.......

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Al-Gheit slammed the UN for failing to take a stance on the Israeli air strikes [COMMENT: What a hypocritical, traitorous bastard!], and compared the situation to the 33 days the UN had taken to establish a ceasefire during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war [COMMENT: And he was supporting Israel against Hizbullah and against a ceasefire at that time].

However, Egypt's duplicity on the issue was not lost on the Arab street as Cairo was seen to give the green light for the Gaza assault to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni when she visited the Egyptian capital days before her country launched its attack. Furthermore, Egypt is complicit in blockading Gaza, and has sealed its Rafah border crossing with the territory. It allows only a trickle of humanitarian cases to enter Egypt.

Meanwhile, PA President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled a trip to the UN in New York so that he could meet with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Ramallah [to give the IOF more time], in the central West Bank, on Sunday....."

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