Category: Cease-fire


WAR REPORT

Gaza militants say truce restored


by Staff Writers
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories (AFP) March 13, 2014

Gaza’s Islamic Jihad announced Thursday that an Egyptian-brokered truce had been restored following a brief but intense confrontation a day earlier when Israeli warplanes pounded the Strip after heavy cross-border rocket fire.

But the truce, which was to have taken effect at 1200 GMT, was being tested after the Israeli military reported further rocket fire from Gaza hours later.

An army spokesman told AFP four rockets hit Israeli soil during the evening and another two were intercepted midair by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

Three rockets had also struck during the morning, he said.

On Wednesday at least 60 rockets hit Israel.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the Thursday rocket fire, but Gaza security sources linked what appeared to be a failed rocket attempt Thursday night to a Salafist splinter group.

They said the group may have been behind the explosion of a locally made projectile in the northern town of Beit Hanoun that injured five members of the same family, including a woman and two children.

Over the course of 24 hours, Israeli warplanes struck Gaza after militants fired scores of rockets over the border in the worst confrontation since an eight-day conflict in November 2012 between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza.

Although there were no casualties on either side, the violence was denounced by both Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and British Prime Minister David Cameron at a news conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton added her voice.

“I strongly condemn the recent rocket attacks on Israel, for which the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is listed by the EU as a terrorist organisation, has claimed responsibility,” she said in a statement

“There can be absolutely no justification for the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, and I call for an immediate end to such acts.”

Behind the scenes, Egypt worked to secure the renewal of a truce agreement to scale back the hostilities, officials in Gaza said.

“An Egyptian-brokered truce went into effect at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT),” Islamic Jihad spokesman Daud Shihab told AFP.

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AL Jazeera

 

Attacks continue despite Gaza truce claims

Israeli air raids on camps of Palestinian armed groups follow new barrage of rockets fired from Hamas-ruled territory.

Last updated: 14 Mar 2014 03:38


 

Israel has targeted suspected camps of Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip following a barrage of rockets fired from the territory.

Thursday was the second straight day of rocket attacks and air raids after an Israeli military operation against members of Islamic Jihad.

Islamic Jihad said that an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire had been restored, but the truce, which was to have taken effect at 1200 GMT, was being tested by continued violence.

“Israel Air Force aircraft targeted four terror sites in the southern Gaza Strip and three additional terror sites in the northern Gaza Strip,” a military statement released around Thursday midnight (2200 GMT) said.

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout quoted Gaza-based medics as saying that three people were injured, one of them seriously, in the Israeli bombardment.

Behind the scenes, Egypt worked to scale back the hostilities, officials in Gaza said.

“An Egyptian-brokered truce went into effect at 2pm (1200 GMT),” Daud Shihab, Islamic Jihad spokesman, told AFP news agency.

Earlier, Khaled al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad leader, said Egyptian officials had contacted Hamas, which governs Gaza, to “restore the truce” with Israel in force since November 2012.

However, an Israeli defence official said he was “not familiar” with any ceasefire arrangement.

Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington DC, said the Israeli government was not commenting on the ceasefire.

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NBC News

Image: Police officers from Lviv who joined anti-government protesters appear on a stage in Kiev's Independence Square DAVID MDZINARISHVILI / Reuters

Police officers from Lviv, Ukraine, appear on a stage after joining protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square on Friday.

Dozens of Ukrainian Police Defect, Vow to Protect Protesters

By James Novogrod

KIEV, Ukraine – About 40 police officers defected to Ukraine’s opposition and marched into the heart of the protest encampment in the Kiev on Friday, the day after violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces killed dozens.

“We wear this uniform, and in this uniform I made a vow to be a servant of the Ukrainian people,” said Col. Vasyl Krykovskiy, the head of police in the district of Lviv. “I just have to be here and protect these people.”

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BBC News

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry (C). Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Paris
Mr Kerry (C) and Mr Lavrov (R) met in Paris, along with Mr Brahimi (L)

The US and Russia have discussed the possibility of “localised ceasefires” in Syria ahead of peace talks to be held in Switzerland next week.

Russia also said Syria was considering opening humanitarian access to besieged rebel areas.

A prisoner exchange is also under consideration, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The two men are in Paris to discuss arrangements for the Geneva talks.

“We talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire, maybe a localised ceasefire in Aleppo,” Mr Kerry told a news conference after talks with Mr Lavrov and Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League envoy for Syria.

Both Mr Kerry and Lavrov said they hoped ceasefires could be in place before the talks, along with plans for prisoner exchanges and the opening of humanitarian corridors.

Mr Kerry said it was up to the Syrian government to show they were serious.

“I’m pleased to say that Foreign Minister Lavrov indicated that he’s had some conversations with the [Syrian] regime, that the regime may be prepared to open up a number of areas, specifically al-Gouta which we have been pushing for for some period of time, and it may be possible for convoys now to be able to access,” he said.

 

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UPDATE 2-U.S. and Russia say Syria aid access and local ceasefire possible

 

Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:31pm GMT

 

By Warren Strobel

Jan 13 (Reuters) – Syria‘s government and some rebels may be willing to permit humanitarian aid to flow, enforce local ceasefires and take other confidence-building measures in the nearly three-year-old civil war, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

Kerry said that he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire. Maybe a localized ceasefire, beginning with Aleppo,” Syria’s largest city. “And both of us have agreed to try to work to see if that could be achieved.”

Syrian rebels backed by Washington have agreed that, if the government commits to such a partial ceasefire, “they would live up to it”, Kerry said.

Given the history of failed attempts to end the war, which has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions, it remains far from clear that even a partial ceasefire can be achieved or, if it is, can hold.

It also seems unlikely to be honored by powerful militant islamist rebel factions, some of whom are at war with both Damascus and other rebel groups backed by the West and Gulf states.

But diplomats are trying to persuade the combatants to agree to a series of steps to improve the atmosphere for Syrian peace talks planned for Switzerland on Jan. 22.

Kerry spoke at a press conference in Paris with Lavrov and Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. Secretary General’s top Syria envoy.

Lavrov, whose government backs Assad, said the Syrian government had indicated it might provide access for humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas. He specifically cited the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, where 160,000 people have been largely trapped by fighting, according to the United Nations.

“We await similar steps by the opposition,” Lavrov said.

Kerry expressed some scepticism that Assad’s government would follow through.

“The proof will be in the pudding, as we say,” he said. “This news of a possibility is welcome.”

 

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Published on Nov 29, 2012

Abby Martin Breaks the Set on US Foreign Policy, Palestinian Statehood, Jimmy Carter and the erosion of the rule of law.
LIKE Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/BreakingTheSet
FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin

EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin returns from her trip to Haiti and goes over her interview with former US President Jimmy Carter and their discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the erosion of the rule of law in the US. Abby then speaks to William Blum, Historian and Author of ‘America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy’ speaking about the history of US interventionism around the world and the brainwashing of America.

 

 

Former US President Carter slams drone attacks

By: INP 

WASHINGTON – Former US President Jimmy Carter has slammed American drone strikes in other countries, stating that killing civilians in such attacks would infact nurture terrorism.

“I personally think we do more harm than good by having our drones attack some potential terrorists who have not been tried or proven that they are guilty,” Carter said in an interview with Russia Today.

“But in the meantime, the drone attacks also kill women and children, sometimes in weddings… so this is the kind of thing we should correct,” he added. Carter, who served as US President from 1976 to 1980, also criticized incumbent American policy makers for violating the country’s “long-standing policy” of “preserving the privacy of US citizens.” “We now pass laws that permit eavesdropping on private phone calls and private communication,” he noted, explaining that in the past, in order to do that, the government had to obtain a court ruling that proved the nation’s national security was at risk, “which was very rare, but now it’s done all over America.”

“We need to back off [and] restore basic human rights as spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he stated.

 

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

 

 

  • Benjamin Netanyahu and Angela Merkel visiting the Holocaust museum in Berlin in 2010 (Photo: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ Moshe Milner)

Israeli PM ‘disappointed’ with Angela Merkel

  1. By Valentina Pop

BERLIN – A joint German-Israeli government meeting in Berlin on Thursday (6 December) is likely to be the scene of more disagreements between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the two traditional allies are having increased difficulty finding common ground.

The scene was set already on the eve of the meeting. Netanyahu told Die Welt about his “disappointment” at Germany’s decision last week to abstain instead of saying “No” to Palestine’s status upgrade within the United Nations.

“I think Chancellor Merkel thought this vote would somehow promote peace. But the opposite has happened: Ever since the UN vote, the Palestinian Authority has made moves towards uniting with Hamas terrorists,” Netanyahu said.

Merkel, for her part, said on the margins of her party congress in Hannover that talks with the Israeli ally would be “frank” and not shy away from criticism about Israel’s ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank.

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People In Toronto Take It To The Streets For The People Of Gaza, Palestine, And The World

Window into Palestine

This is what we have so far and will update you with more as it becomes available

Saturday November 24th at the Israeli Consulate, 180 Bloor Street West, Toronto Hundreds gathered in protest against the Israeli war machine for them the Stop the killing and to End the blockade of Gaza, Palestine. Free Palestine. Support BDS. They we’re also in protest of The Canadian government with a focus on the Harper Regime who has failed to condemn Israel’s latest attack on Gaza Palestine, and Instead, it provides Israel with the military, economic and diplomatic support necessary to carry out its acts of aggression. They We’re calling on all people of conscience to join the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and join in protests until it complies with international law. It was a city-wide rally and march in solidarity with Gaza and all of Palestine to Tell Stephen Harper and the Canadian government to end the support for Israel’s war. It was a message to all Canadians that it’s time to show the people of Gaza and all of Palestine that we stand in solidarity with them, we stand for justice and humanity!

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Oil prices fall as Israel-Hamas truce holds

By PAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business Writer

 

Benchmark oil for January delivery was down 33 cents to $87.95 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract rose 90 cents to close at $88.28 a barrel on the Nymex after Israeli troops fired on crowds in Gaza surging toward a border fence, killing one Palestinian.

Prior to the shooting, oil prices had been falling, thanks mostly to optimism that the cease-fire agreement between the two sides would prevent a broader conflict in the region that could disrupt crude supplies. The truce was struck last Wednesday to end to an eight-day Israeli offensive against Gaza militants who had fired rockets into Israel, but remains fragile.

Traders were also keeping a close eye on developments in Egypt, said independent oil analyst Stephen Schork. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday moved to grant himself near-absolute power, sparking street clashes between his supporters and opponents.

Brent, which is used to set prices for many international varieties of oil, fell 33 cents to $111.05 a barrel.

Other futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline lost 0.2 cent to $2.719 a gallon.

— Natural gas lost 5 cents to $3.851 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil was unchanged at $3.086 a gallon.

THE BIGGER THEY ARE THE HARDER THEY FALL

People in Gaza streets celebrate ceasefire

 

 
BBC persisted in its typically awful reportage on the Israel-Palestine conflict during Israel’s latest rampage.  
 
But tonight it had to acknowledge that the people of Gaza were out in the streets celebrating.  
 
It desperately sought some “balance” by positing that “some people in Israel are probably also celebrating.”  
 
Fat chance.
 
CNN aired Christiane Amanpour’s “exclusive” interview with Khaled Meshal.  
 
Despite, or perhaps because of, her silly histrionics (“What do you want?” she tearfully pleaded), Meshal came across as remarkably articulate.  
 
It could not have failed to register even on the terrifyingly stupid Abu Mazen that the PA Comedy Hour will soon be cancelled.  
 
Meshal also explicitly endorsed a settlement on the June 1967 border, which won’t please the BDS/One-State cultists.
 
CNN then televised the Israeli news conference of Netanyahu, Lieberman and Barak.  
 
They looked like three sixth-graders called down to the Principal’s Office, counting the minutes until the humiliation was over.
 
Israel suffered a double defeat.  
 
Its announced goal when it went into Gaza was to restore its “deterrence capacity.”  
 
But at the end of the day its deterrence capacity had been drastically reduced:
 
The once mighty Israeli army that caused the whole Arab/Muslim world to tremble could not even defeat the impoverished and weaponless tiny enclave of Gaza.
 
Israel demanded an unconditional and unilateral secession of Hamas “rocket” attacks.
 
But Israel had to accept a mutual ceasefire.  It also had to make promises regarding the siege of Gaza.  
 
It is highly improbable that anything will come of these Israeli promises, but still, Israel could not unilaterally impose its will.
 
Let it, finally, be said:
 
In praise of the ever-martyred but ever-heroic and ever-renascent people of Gaza.
 
May they live to see the full brightness of dawn.

 

Obama Promised More Money To Israel And They Can Kill More Palestinians On The Next Operation If They Do A Cease Fire Now

Window into Palestine

 

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr announced ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. There was no signed agreement. The ceasefire is essentially “quiet in exchange for quiet,” as one Israeli diplomatic source put it.
In the announcement, Clinton reiterated the US’s position that “all rocket attacks must end” and said the US would be working with Egypt in the coming days on the next steps in the process. She said improvement of conditions for the people of Gaza and providing security for the people of Israel would be sought in any long-term agreement and there was “no substitute for a just and lasting peace.”
Amr explained the ceasefire would go into effect at 9 pm Cairo Time. Egypt would “assume responsibility to the Palestinian cause and finding a just solution for it.” Egypt will also work for Palestinian unity and an end to division among Palestinian factions.
The blockade or siege of Gaza was not part the terms of the ceasefire. Hamas leaders had pushed for that to be included in the ceasefire. Both Egyptian and Hamas leaders had included that in the ceasefire proposal sent to Israel yesterday. Israel rejected that along with a demand that targeted assassinations of people like Hamas leaders end. The bombing of Gaza re-intensified until less than twenty-four hours later there was this announced ceasefire.
As the New York Times reported, Clinton flew to Egypt yesterday to “consult with Egyptian officials in contact with Hamas” and, after this meeting, the demand for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza was entirely absent from the announcement and unmentioned as something that would be specifically addressed in the days ahead.
The statement from President Barack Obama’s administration that was given to the press indicated the administration would “use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.” President Obama would also seek ”additional funding for Iron Dome and other US-Israel missile defense programs.” According to Haaretz, this was part of conversations that led Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to decide to give a ceasefire “a chance” to possibly help “stabilize” the situation “before exerting more force.”
A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released in March of this year detailed, “The Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency’s FY2013 request for joint U.S.-Israeli co-development is $99.8 million which is $6 million below the President’s FY2012 request. However, according to one source, ‘Though the administration’s request for missile defense monies has dropped somewhat in recent years—from $121.7m. in 2011 to $106.1m. in 2012 to 2013’s $99.8m.—during each of those cycles, Congress has consistently increased the final allocation.” In July, Obama approved $70 million more in aid for Iron Dome.
Essentially, the Obama administration is providing Israel with an incentive to restore nothing more than the status quo. The status quo is what is fueling the cycles of violence. The blockade, arbitrary detention and the policies of apartheid, including issues over water and food distribution, freedom of movement, etc, should be understood as part of what creates an environment where Palestinians are moved to respond to Israel with violence.
“Each firing of an interceptor missile costs the Israeli government tens of thousands of dollars, according to the defense ministry,” Voice of America reported.
Those interceptor missiles being used to prevent Israel from suffering the consequences of its policies toward Palestinians are being funded with US taxpayer dollars. Israel’s failure or refusal to end these policies ensures there will be more interceptor missiles and more maintenance necessary for the Iron Dome. That means the US has to invest tens of millions more dollars. That may be acceptable to Israel because it can weather hundreds if not thousands of projectile attacks and get used to it, but it should not be acceptable to Americans.
Funding for Iron Dome should not be seen as part of the solution to the conflict in the short-term or long-term because it gives Israel a mechanism for continuing the collective punishment and systemic abuse of the human rights of an entire population of people.
Hopefully, Egypt and Turkey can play a significant role in fostering a long-term agreement that addresses the blockade and other policies. There will be many stories of despair, pain and suffering as they try to recover from the complete decimation of homes, infrastructure and numerous civilian buildings. Even though ceasefire has been announced, Israel continued to bomb Gaza right up until the time it was to go into effect.
Egypt, Turkey and other Arab countries will need to make up for the United States’ complicity because right now the US is not concerned about their plight. Official statements are virtually indistinguishable from statements from Israeli officials. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak even said this latest operation in Gaza would not have been possible without US support. The US wants what Israel wants and Israel does not want Gaza to become anything other than the open-air prison it is now because then they would not have control.
Update
Full text of the agreement:
Agreement of Understanding For a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip
1: (no title given for this section)
A. Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.
B. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.
C. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
D. Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.
2: Implementation mechanisms:
A. Setting up the zero hour for the ceasefire understanding to enter into effect.
B. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.
C. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up.

Russia urges united action against Israeli aggression

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo)
“The Quartet needs…to work together with the Arab League representatives and work out solutions together…to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Lavrov made the remarks after at least one Palestinian was killed and seven others were injured by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip despite an Egypt-mediated ceasefire agreement between the two sides on Wednesday.

Over 160 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed and about 1,200 others were injured in the Israeli attacks on Gaza that were carried out during the eight-day period starting November 14.

In retaliation, the Palestinian resistance fighters fired rockets and missiles into Israeli cities, killing at least five Israelis.

The Russian minister had also on November 15 lashed out at the Middle East Quartet for its failure to establish peace in the region.

Israel frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed and injured.

The attacks rage on while Israel keeps up its crippling blockade on Gaza, which it imposed on the enclave in 2007.

MAM/HMV/SS

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