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Egypt Closes Gaza Border Again

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    Hamas sets Rafah border conditions http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/34F9D231-659E-4539-B588-160BC3E4DAE6.htm A delegation led by Khaled Meshaal, the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2008
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      Hamas sets Rafah border conditions
      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/34F9D231-659E-4539-B588-160BC3E4DAE6.htm


      A delegation led by Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, has proposed
      joint Palestinian-Egyptian control of the Rafah crossing.

      They set down these conditions on Thursday on the second day of talks
      in Cairo geared towards resolving the week-old crisis on the
      Gaza-Egypt border as Egypt continued its mediat ing role between Hamas
      and Fatah.

      The delegation proposed removing EU observers, maintaining that these
      observers were in no position to stop Israel from closing the border
      crossing.

      Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader, said these "historical borders"
      should not be used to impose a seige on the Palestinians.

      Other conditions set by Hamas include that the Palestinian role should
      be determined by an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian
      Authority (PA).

      The movement also said it was against Israel's veto power to close the
      crossing.

      Hamas further proposed that the entry into and out of Gaza through
      Rafah should not only be confined to Palestinians carrying
      identification cards issued by the PA.

      Thursday's deliberations come a day after Mahmoud Abbas, the
      Palestinian president, met Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, and
      asserted his refusal to deal with Hamas.

      Meshaal is expected to meet Ahmed Abulgheit, Egypt's foreign minister,
      and Omar Sullieman, its head of intelligence.

      'Combatant' killed

      In related news on Thursday, Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian man
      in the southern Gaza Strip, local medics and the Israeli military said.

      Twenty-year-old Mahmud al-Daalsah, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs
      Brigades, was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers near
      the town of Rafa h , medics and witnesses said.

      An Israeli military spokesman said "the combatant was killed when he
      approached the security barrier" between the territory and Israel .

      Since Israel and the Palestinians revived their peace negotiations in
      late November after a seven-year freeze, at least 145 people, mostly
      fighters, have been killed by Israeli troops in Hamas-run Gaza .

      Thursday's death brings to 6,105 the number of people killed, a vast
      majority of them Palestinians, since the start of the second
      Palestinian uprising in September 2000, according to an AFP tally.

      Border closure

      Egypt increased security around the border town of Rafah on Tuesday,
      and resealed parts of the barrier destroyed a week ago by Hamas
      fighters, in an attempt to control the flow of people in and out of
      the Gaza Strip.

      Egyptian state media has reported Cairo is soon to close the border.

      One state-run newspaper said Cairo planned to close the border on
      Thursday, and the al-Ahram newspaper said the last opportunity for
      Gazans to return home would be at the start of next week.

      The situation for the Gaza Strip, however, remains unresolved, and the
      Israeli Supreme Court upheld the government's decision to cut fuel and
      electricity shipments.

      Gaza sanctions

      Israeli human rights groups have challenged the sanctions, which
      Israel says are aimed at halting ongoing rocket fire by Gaza fighters.

      Palestinian officials say the cutbacks have harmed Gaza 's already
      impoverished residents by causing power shortages and crippling
      crucial utilities.

      Israel, which pulled out of Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation,
      supplies all of Gaza 's fuel and more than two-thirds of its electricity.

      The Israeli blockade of the strip, appeared to be easing, however,
      when Asher Luk, the manager of Israel 's Karni crossing with Gaza ,
      said that 70 trucks of wheat and animal feed would be allowed into the
      Gaza Strip.

      Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

      ===

      This is how the thugs in Hebron behave (6:39):
      http://youtube.com/watch?v=Wx0X1gycCGQ (Make sure you're not eating
      while seeing this.)

      ===

      An Experiment in Famine
      Hamas is Not the Real Issue
      By NEVE GORDON
      January 30, 2008
      http://www.counterpunch.org/gordon01302008.html


      The experiment in famine began on January 18, 2008. Israel
      hermetically closed all of Gaza's borders, preventing even food,
      medicine and fuel from entering the Strip. Power cuts, which had been
      frequent for many months, were extended to 12 hours per day. Due to
      the electricity shortage, at least 40 percent of Gazans have not had
      access to running water (which is channeled through electric pumps)
      for several days and the sewage system has broken down. The raw sewage
      that has not spilled onto the streets is now being poured into the sea
      at a daily rate of 30 million liters. Hospitals have been forced to
      rely on emergency generators leading them to cut back, yet again, on
      the already limited services offered to the Palestinian population.
      The World Food Programme has reported critical shortages of food and
      declared that it is unable to provide 10,000 of the poorest Gazans
      with three out of the five foodstuffs they normally receive.

      After five days of extreme suffering, a group of Hamas militants took
      the lead, and blew-up parts of the steel wall along the Egyptian
      border. Within hours more than 100,000 Gazans crossed the border into
      Egypt. They were hungry, thirsty and sick of being locked up in a
      filthy cage. Once in Egypt they bought everything they could get their
      hands on and waited patiently for the international community to
      intervene on their behalf. Yet the world leaders failed them again,
      and on January 28, after a five day respite, the iron wall was
      re-erected and the Palestinians were pushed back into the world's
      largest prison -- the Gaza Strip.

      Ehud Barak, Israel's Minister of Defense, did not stammer when he
      justified his decision to experiment with famine; he had no qualms
      about introducing a policy that historically only the most brutal
      leaders have adopted.

      His argument seems rational. Barak said that no government in the
      world would tolerate the ongoing bombardment of its citizens from
      across the border. Since other measures -- like harsh economic
      sanctions, extra-judicial executions, the ongoing barrage of northern
      parts of the Strip as well as the bombardment of several critical
      infrastructure sites, like the electric power plant and Palestinian
      government offices -- did not do the job, Israel had no other option.

      This ostensibly rational argument conveniently ignores the fact that
      since its victory in the January 2006 democratic elections Hamas has
      proposed several cease-fire agreements, the latest emerging just last
      week. In these proposals, Hamas agrees to stop launching missiles at
      Israeli citizens, in exchange for Israel ending its incursions into
      Gaza, the assassinations of militants and political leaders, and the
      economic blockade.

      Hamas's proposals underscore two important facts. First, despite what
      Barak says the use of force is not the only option Israel has: The
      government could decide to open a dialogue with Hamas based on a
      cease-fire agreement. Second, it emphasizes, as Israeli critic Uri
      Avnery cogently observes, that Israel is cynically using the assaults
      on its own citizens as a pretext for attempting to overthrow the Hamas
      regime in Gaza and for preventing a Hamas takeover in the West Bank.

      Ultimately, though, even the courageous Avnery does not spell out
      Israel's main objective. The central issue for Israel is not Hamas yes
      or no, but rather Palestinian sovereignty yes or no. The recent crisis
      reveals, once more, that Israel's August 2005 unilateral withdrawal
      from the Gaza Strip was not an act of decolonization but rather the
      reorganization of Israeli power and the implementation of neo-colonial
      rule. Israel realized that in order to maintain sovereignty all it
      would have to do is preserve its monopoly over the legitimate means of
      movement. Very different from the withdrawal of British forces from
      the various colonies of old, it accordingly continued to dominate
      Gaza's borders, transforming the Strip into a container of sorts whose
      openings are totally controlled by Israel.

      The experiment in Gaza is, in other words, not really about the
      bombardment of Israeli citizens or even about Israel's ongoing efforts
      to undermine Hamas. It is simply a new draconian strategy aimed at
      denying the Palestinians their most basic right to self-determination.
      It is about showing them who is in control, about breaking their
      backs, so that they lower their expectations and bow down to Israeli
      demands. The Palestinians understood this and courageously destroyed
      their prison wall while crying out into the wilderness for
      international support. Instead of the expected outrage, the only
      response they received was a weak echo of their own cry for help.
      Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, Israel and can
      be reached at nevegordon@...

      ===

      Arbour backs plan that seeks end to Zionism
      UN human rights czar supports controversial pan-Arab charter

      Steven Edwards
      The Ottawa Citizen
      Wednesday, January 30, 2008
      http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=621d0497-8ed7-4b74-a300-370b106faeb2


      UNITED NATIONS - Louise Arbour, the United Nations high commissioner
      for human rights, has thrown her support behind a major pan-Arab human
      rights charter that commits to the elimination of Zionism.

      Some critics say the wording is code for the destruction of Israel,
      but in a statement from her Geneva headquarters, the former justice of
      the Supreme Court of Canada welcomes the Arab Charter on Human Rights,
      which will come into force in mid-March.

      "Regional systems of promotion and protection can further help
      strengthen the enjoyment of human rights, and the ... charter is an
      important step forward in this direction," Ms. Arbour says.
      While the document demands respect for a host of internationally
      recognized human rights, its references to Zionism concern leading
      human rights activist groups, including Amnesty International,
      International Commission of Jurists and UN Watch.

      The charter's preamble speaks of "rejecting all forms of racism and
      Zionism," alleging they violate human rights and threaten
      international peace and security.

      Article 2 of the 53-article document says "all forms of racism,
      Zionism and foreign occupation and domination" should be "condemned
      and efforts must be deployed for their elimination."

      "These provisions cannot be dismissed as harmless rhetoric," says a
      letter UN Watch sent Monday to Ms. Arbour asking her for a
      "clarification" of her support for the charter.

      The term Zionist Entity is routinely used in the Middle East and
      beyond by countries and groups that do not recognize the Israeli state
      or its right to exist.

      The Arab world felt its own charter would better reflect its cultural
      heritage than do international protections such as the 1948 Universal
      Declaration of Human Rights.

      An initial 1994 version fell short of international standards in many
      areas, while the current version dates to revisions begun in 2004.

      At that time, a newsletter issued by Ms. Arbour's office shortly after
      her appointment as UN high commissioner for human rights called the
      charter's Zionism references a "contentious issue."

      Amnesty International said in a paper the charter should use
      international human rights standards as a point of reference "rather
      than focusing on a particular ideology or ideologies."

      A spokesman for Ms. Arbour's office said it planned to address the UN
      Watch letter in the near future.

      Ms. Arbour issued her statement after the United Arab Emirates on Jan.
      15 became the seventh country to ratify the charter, thereby
      triggering a two-month countdown before the measures take force.

      Among other issues questioned by international human rights groups,
      the charter says certain rights can be suspended in the event of a
      national emergency.

      On marriage, the charter stipulates it can only be between a man and a
      woman.

      Women, who face religion-based discrimination in many Islamic
      countries, are guaranteed equal rights "within the framework of the
      positive discrimination established in favour of women by the Islamic
      Shariah, other divine laws, and by applicable laws and legal instruments."

      *********************************************************************

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