Yesterday morning on the radio news I first heard the about the American warships and one Israeli ship (apparently carrying nuclear warheads) being allowed through the Suez Canal, and chills ran up my spine. Only in the evening did I see the news item in print.
My guess is that if and when a Gaza bound Iranian boat or boats attempt to go, they will be attacked by some of the US ships and perhaps the Israeli one too. Reasons and excuses will be given. But what such an act will result in, one can only surmise. May it not happen.
The Israeli evening TV news and also the afternoon radio newscasts were full of Israel’s easing of the siege on Gaza. Easing is not lifting or ending. How this “easing” will impact on freedom of movement, we do not know.
Also, Israel will benefit from the ‘easing,’ as most of the goods that will be brought into Gaza will undoubtedly be ones produced in Israel, and Gazans will have to pay for them.
The third item should have Germany up in arms! So Israel is supposedly easing the siege, but continues to govern movement in and out of Gaza.
Hoping against hope that Israel and the US keep their bloody hands off of Iran, and that someday Gaza and Palestinians as a whole will be free.
June 20, 2010
HomeNewsPublished 13:16 19.06.10
Report: U.S., Israeli warships cross Suez Canal toward Red Sea
Egypt opposition angered at government for allowing the fleet of more than 12 ships to cross Egyptian manned waterway, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports.
More than twelve United States Naval warships and at least one Israeli ship crossed the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea on Friday, British Arabic Language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Saturday.
According to the report, thousands of Egyptian soldiers were deployed along the Suez Canal guarding the ships’ passage, which included a U.S. aircraft carrier.
The Suez Canal is a strategic Egyptian waterway which connects between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
According to eyewitnesses, the U.S. battleships were the largest to have crossed the Canal in many years, Al-Quds reported.
Egyptian opposition members have criticized the government for cooperating with the U.S. and Israeli forces and allowing the ships’ passage through Egyptian territorial waters.
They said they viewed the event as Egyptian participation in an international scandal, and added that the opposition would not sit with its arms crossed while the country allowed a fleet of U.S. and Israeli military ships to cross.
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Haaretz Sunday, June 20, 2010
Israel unveils steps to ease Gaza blockade, remains firm on weapons ban
Change in policy to focus on freeing movement, inflow of building materials; cabinet agreed in principle last week to relax Israel’s four-year land siege, in plan coordinated with Mideast envoy Blair.
Benjamin Netanyahu Senior cabinet ministers on Sunday approved steps toward easing Israel’s land blockade of the Gaza Strip, days after Jerusalem had issued a non-binding declaration supporting such a move.
In a statement released following the cabinet vote on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office emphasized that the change would not counter Israel’s policy “to defend its citizens against terror, rocket fire or any other hostile activities from Gaza.”
The PMO said that Israel would release “as soon as possible” a detailed list of goods that would not be allowed into the Gaza Strip, which would include all weapons.
“Israel seeks to keep out of Gaza weapons and material that Hamas uses to prepare and carry out terror and rocket attacks toward Israel and its civilians,” Netanyahu said. “All other goods will be allowed into Gaza.”
Israel’s new policy will allow an inflow of construction material into the Gaza Strip for projects approved by the Palestinian Authority or under the auspices of international supervision, including schools, health facilities, water treatment and sanitation, the statement said.
Israel also said it would keep the right to ban “dual-use” construction materials that could be used by Hamas to manufacture weapons and to rebuild its military facilities.
The change in policy is also aimed at improving economic activity in the coastal territory, said the PMO. The new policy was also to allow humanitarian aid to be brought into Gaza in a more effective way and to ease movement in and out of the coastal territory, said the PMO.
Israel would consider further easing its siege as the situation on the ground improved, said the PMO. It would also continue to inspect every item brought to the Ashdod Port bound for the Gaza Strip.
The PMO emphasized in its statement that its defense regime along the Gaza border would remain in place and that Israel still sees Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced late last week, after two days of extensive deliberations, that the security cabinet had agreed in principle to relax Israel’s three-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.
The ministers decided after their marathon talks on Wednesday and Thursday to “liberalize” Israel’s policy regarding the entry of goods into the Hamas ruled territory, which was set in place after the Islamist movement violently seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The aim of the discussions was to approve a plan drafted by Netanyahu in coordination with the United Nations’ Middle East envoy Tony Blair.
Over the course of the six-hour meetings last week, ministers voiced their opinions regarding the blockade and the defense establishment presented the plans for the “liberalization” of the blockade. However, upon concluding the discussions, the ministers did not vote on any binding practical draft of the decision.
Prior to the vote on Sunday, the government was bound by a policy regarding the blockade decided by the security cabinet under former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Israel had “every intention to increase the transfer of goods into Gaza even before the cabinet meeting,” a senior defense official said last week, indicating a change in the government’s policy even before a binding decision.
“We have notified the Palestinians, regardless of the cabinet meeting, that we will allow the entry of food items, house wares, writing implements, mattresses and toys. Beyond that, we have not said a thing,” the official said.
The international community welcomed Israel’s announcement last week that it planned to ease its land blockade of the Gaza Strip. The White House called the announcement a “step in the right direction” and said the Obama administration hoped to see an expansion in the scope of goods flowing into the coastal territory.
Haaretz Sunday, June 20, 2010
Israel reacts to German minister: Ban on politicians entering Gaza is necessary
German development minister said Israel has made a ‘large foreign policy mistake’ by barring him from visiting the Gaza Strip.
Tags: Israel news Gaza Germany Israel reacted with surprise Sunday to criticism by German Development Minister Dirk Niebel, who said Israel had made a “large foreign policy mistake” by not allowing him to visit the Gaza Strip.
“There is a clear policy,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry official said. “We have explained that we do not allow the entry of foreign politicians to the Gaza Strip.”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the German Press Agency dpa that Israel feared the Islamist Hamas movement, which administers the coastal salient, would exploit visits by foreign politicians for propaganda purposes. This would also weaken the moderate, West Bank-based government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he said.
He added that Israel had no problem with visits to the enclave by foreign experts and officials who wish to observe development projects, or by representatives from multi-lateral organizations, such as the United Nations.
Niebel had planned Saturday to visit a sewage plant financed by German development aid. He said Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip was “not a sign of strength, but evidence of unspoken fear.”
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle added his criticism of Israel’s stance on Sunday.
“I regret the decision by the Israeli government to deny minister Niebel entry to the Gaza Strip,” Westerwelle said in a statement, in which he also called on Israel to completely drop its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Western countries have placed a diplomatic and political embargo on Hamas, after the organization, which won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, refused to change its charter to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and honor previous Israeli-Palestinian
Israel imposed its blockade on the Gaza Strip in June 2006, after militants staged a cross-border raid and snatched an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who is still being held in the salient as negotiations for his release have so far come to naught.
The Israeli siege was tightened in June 2007, when Hamas militants seized control of the Strip’s security installations, after routing officials loyal to Abbas and to the Palestinian Authority.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said Sunday that Israel would end the siege if Hamas ended attacks against Israel and released Shalit.