Monday, November 17, 2008

Israel briefly opens Gaza crossing - Link to Palestinian Diaries

Top News By Various Agencies (see bottom of this post for the link the the moving Palestinian Diaries)

The Israelis have temporarily opened the Karem Abu Salem border crossing with Gaza to allow a limited supply of humanitarian aid to reach the territory.

Thirty trucks, 11 of which are carrying United Nations (UN) supplies, were allowed to travel into the Strip on Monday.

Israel stepped up its blockade of Gaza - keeping crossings closed and so preventing the delivery of fuel and essential humantarian supplies - in response to Palestinian fighters launching rockets into southern Israel.

Power plant closed

The Israelis have almost continuously enforced the blockade since November 5, halting the supply of United Nations food and medical aid to 750,000 Palestinians and forcing the territory's sole power plant to shut down.

Palestinians say the policy is one of collective punishment and ignores Israel's humanitarian responsibilities in ensuring civilians receive adequate food and medical supplies.

Mohyeldin said there had been rumours that Israel was seeking to transfer those responsibilities to another border country - possibly Egypt.

As relations between Israel and Gaza sink even lower, Ehud Olmert, Israel's outgoing prime minister, has declared the five-month truce with Hamas in the Gaza Strip "shattered" following 13 days of tit-for-tat attacks.

Olmert told an Israeli cabinet meeting on Sunday that he had ordered security chiefs to draw up plans to end rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, news agency AFP reported.

Olmert made the remarks shortly after four Palestinian fighters from the Popular Resistance Committees were killed in an Israeli air attack in northern Gaza.

Rocket attacks

Israel said the air raid had targeted Palestinian fighters who were preparing to launch rockets. Scores of rockets have landed in the south of the country in the last two weeks.

"The responsibility for the shattering of the calm and the creation of a situation of prolonged and repeated violence in the south of the country is entirely on Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza," Olmert told Israeli ministers.

"There is no one who can criticise the Israeli government ... we cannot tolerate this price tag that the terror organisations are trying to set against our right to prevent the continuing terror attacks and threats."

Olmert said he asked Israel's security agencies to "present different action plans against the Hamas terror rule without its hampering our ability to use all necessary force in our response to violations of the calm".

The Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas came into force on June 19 and, despite sporadic violations by both sides, had led to a prolonged calm until a flare-up earlier this month.

International organisations and human rights groups have urged Israel to ease the blockade.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "is deeply concerned at the deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation in Gaza and southern Israel. He calls on all parties to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law," a UN statement said.

For more information on this and related moving stories from several Palestinian points of view go to Diaries: Live from Palestine (latest is called "The Real Meaning of Hope" - posted Monday 17 November 2008

at electronicintifada dot net


No comments: