Israel Closes Gaza Border, Launches Attacks
“In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government has re-imposed border restrictions on the Gaza Strip that were slightly eased under a ceasefire with Hamas. Israel says it reinstated the closures following rocket fire from militants with the group Islamic Jihad. The rockets came in apparent response to the killing of two Palestinian militants in the West Bank where the ceasefire does not apply. Speaking at a donor’s conference in Berlin, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called the Israeli attack a provocation.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad: “I am now departing from the written text to tell you that as early as the early morning hours of today, there was yet another incursion in the city of Nablus where two people actually were killed. This is an example, precise example, of the kind of activity that has to stop, and stop immediately and promptly, if in fact we are going to be able to succeed in the provision of security to our people.”
Palestinian medical officials say Israel has launched attacks in the Gaza Strip despite the ceasefire. An eighty-year-old Palestinian farmer was reportedly shot twice shortly after the border restrictions were re-imposed. In Gaza, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri criticized Israeli actions but said Hamas would respect the truce.
Sami Abu Zuhri: “Hamas is keen to maintain the deal on calm and for that is interested in treating any problems that occur through dialogue. Hamas is following up what happened with the Islamic Jihad and other factions to ensure
maintaining the agreement over the calm.”
US Defends Palestinian Boycott
Meanwhile, back in Berlin, the US is facing criticism for its refusal to support lifting the international boycott on the Palestinian government. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended the US stance.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: “To my good friend Amr Moussa, I just want to make certain that we understand fully that no one would be happier to see a reconciliation of the Palestinian people than I would. I think it would be very good for the Palestinian people. But that reconciliation has to take place on a basis that at least observes the international agreements to which the Palestinians themselves have signed on, because you cannot have reconciliation for peace if there is not a partner that respects the right of the other partner to exist.”
The US has been accused of hypocrisy because it refuses to demand Israel also respect international agreements or recognize Palestine’s right to exist.
–Democracy Now, June 25, 2008
Israel closes Gaza borders indefinitely
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 21:04
“Israel has closed its border crossings with Gaza for an indefinite period, calling the move a response to a Palestinian rocket attack that breached an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.
The crossings were to have opened at 8am (0500 Irish time) to allow for imports, increased in scale under the truce, to reach the impoverished territory.
But Israeli military liaison official Peter Lerner said they would stay closed until further notice.
‘Any reopening will be in accordance with security considerations.’ he said.
Islamic Jihad militants fired several rockets into southern Israel yesterday, breaching a five-day-old Gaza truce in what they called retaliation for the Israeli army’s killing of one of their commanders in the occupied West Bank.
The ceasefire deal does not cover the West Bank.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers, accused Israel of bad faith in closing the crossings, where restrictions were tightened a year ago after the Islamist group took over the territory.
‘The closure by the occupation is a violation of the deal for calm in Gaza,’ Abu Zuhri said, referring to Israel.
Further stoking tension, Islamic Jihad threatened more attacks today for what it called a shooting by Israeli troops of a Palestinian farmer as he worked his field in the village of Khuza, near the Gaza border.
Palestinian medical officials said the man was wounded in the leg but there was no independent confirmation that he had been shot by Israeli forces. In Tel Aviv, an Israeli military spokeswoman said she had no knowledge of any such incident.
‘We will respond to every Zionist violation at the suitable time,’ Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Hamza said.