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January 23, 2009

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Israel Disputes Gaza Death Toll - Tovah Lazaroff and Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli officials have disputed "official" Palestinian figures for the number of civilians killed in the fighting in Gaza, insisting that the Hamas Health Ministry has significantly inflated the civilian death toll and played down the number of Hamas operatives killed.
    The IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration has compiled a list with 900 names of Palestinians killed during the operation, out of which 750, it says, are believed to be Hamas operatives.

U.S. Navy Searches Suspected Arms-Smuggling Ship - Pauline Jelinek (AP)
    The U.S. navy intercepted and searched an Iranian-owned ship in the Red Sea that officials feared was carrying arms to Hamas.
    The ship was boarded and searched with the consent of the vessel's crew on Monday and Tuesday, said an official.
    The search turned up ammunition that included artillery shells; and since Hamas is not known to use artillery, officials are now uncertain of the intended recipient.
    The vessel was allowed to continue its voyage after the search.

Freed by U.S., Saudi Becomes a Qaeda Chief - Robert F. Worth (New York Times)
    Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Said Ali al-Shihri has emerged as the deputy leader of al-Qaeda's Yemeni branch.
    He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with al-Qaeda in Yemen, where he is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Sana in September.

Al-Qaeda Urges Muslims to Attack Western Capitals (AP/International Herald Tribune)
    Abu Yahia al-Libi, an al-Qaeda commander who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan in 2005, says in a video posted on militant Web sites Thursday that Muslims should launch attacks against Western and Arab capitals because of the failure of leaders in those countries to denounce Israel's offensive in Gaza.

IDF Officers Say Troops Behaved Morally in Gaza - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Lt. Col. Avi, a battalion commander in the Paratrooper Brigade, insists that his men did everything possible to conduct themselves morally and limit civilian casualties.
    "At Atatra, a neighborhood in northern Gaza, we saw a light in a house and heard screams, and we let the families walk out with a white flag. I was very concerned about harming civilians. When we went into Gaza I told the soldiers: 'We are not like the Russians in Chechnya.' I was glad to see that the guys knew how to hold their fire."

Arab States Fear Muslim Militancy More Than They Dislike Israel - Tim Butcher (Telegraph-UK)
    Egypt's secular, military leaders have been struggling with the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1920s. Militant Islam remains one of the most clear and present dangers to President Hosni Mubarak's rule.
    The links between Hamas and "the Brothers" are strong, deep and long-standing. Gaza abuts Egypt and in the eyes of many the Palestinian movement is little more than the "North Sinai Branch" of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    So just as Cairo needs to keep "the Brothers" in check, it also has an interest in seeing Hamas weakened.

They're All with Gaza...Who Is with Hamas? - Huda al-Husseini (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
    The protests around the world demonstrate support for the people of Gaza; not one banner showed support for the Hamas movement.
    Any human being that hopes for peace cannot support a movement that targets civilians, and this is what happened in Gaza when Hamas "purged" Gaza of all of its political opponents.
    Many say that the Hamas leadership - that admits its rejection of the peace process - has played a key role in destroying any hopes for peace when it began suicide operations in April 1994. These operations were one of the main reasons behind the construction of the Israeli security wall.

Mega-Housing Projects for Gaza - Lenny Ben-David (Jerusalem Post)
    Perhaps the highest priority in Gaza should be a major international construction effort to build mega-housing projects. Large areas are available for construction in the former Gush Katif settlements.
    Such a project will require a shift in Palestinian thinking. Twenty-five years ago the Palestinians vehemently opposed Israeli attempts to build new housing for the descendents of refugees who make up one-third of Gaza's residents and are wards of UNRWA.

Anti-Zionism and the Abuse of Academic Freedom: A Case Study at the University of California, Santa Cruz - Tammi Rossman-Benjamin (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
    Under the mantle of academic freedom, falsehoods and distortions about Zionism and Israel are heard in classrooms and at officially-sponsored events on many university campuses.
    At the University of California, Santa Cruz, numerous cases of faculty-generated anti-Zionist political advocacy have been documented.
    Evidence of academic-freedom abuse has been presented to the faculty senate and administration for further investigation, but these efforts have largely been unsuccessful.

Israeli Tourism Rose 32 Percent in 2008 (Reuters)
    A record 3.03 million people visited Israel in 2008, up 32% from 2007, the Tourism Ministry said on Sunday.
    The largest number of tourists last year came from the U.S. at 617,000, a record level. Some 356,000 entered from Russia for an 84% jump. Tourism from Germany rose 40%.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Obama Appoints Special Envoys - Karen DeYoung and Glenn Kessler
    President Obama Thursday appointed two special emissaries - Richard C. Holbrooke for Afghanistan-Pakistan and George J. Mitchell for the Middle East. Obama said he was "deeply concerned by the loss of Israeli and Palestinian life...and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs" in Gaza. He called on Hamas to renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist, and said Israel should open the territory's borders. He cited "constructive elements" in an Arab peace initiative but said "now is the time for Arab states to act on the initiative's promise" by supporting the Palestinian Authority government, normalizing relations with Israel, and "standing up to extremism that threatens us all." (Washington Post)
        See also below Observations: Obama on the Middle East (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal Claims Victory in Gaza War
    Hamas leader Khaled Mashal told Al-Quds TV on Wednesday: "Our people and our nation have emerged victorious....Ultimately, after three weeks, [Israel] was forced to declare a unilateral cease-fire and withdrawal, without any agreement or terms that bind or limit the resistance." "The Gaza war is a turning point in the struggle with the Zionist enemy. With its significance, its accomplishments, its timing, and its greatness, it serves as a cornerstone for an effective and serious strategy for liberation, which begins in Palestine, and will continue everywhere, with the support of the nation."
        "We want a Palestinian reconciliation. But after the lesson of Gaza, what will be the basis for the reconciliation? We want it to be based on the resistance, and on adherence to our national rights, and not on these futile negotiations, or on concessions." (MEMRI)
  • Israel Rules Out Opening Gaza Border If Hamas Gains - Adam Entous
    Israel has all but ruled out fully reopening border crossings with Gaza as long as Hamas rules the enclave or stands to benefit from the easing of restrictions, a top adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. The adviser said Israel would allow the "maximum" flow of food, medicine, oil and gas to Gaza, but steel and cement needed for rebuilding would have to wait. "If opening the passages will strengthen Hamas, we won't do it," he said. This week, Israel told the UN and other aid groups planning for the rebuilding that they must apply for project-by-project Israeli approval and provide guarantees none of the work will benefit Hamas.
        The adviser said he doubted Hamas would agree to let Abbas' security forces, backed by international observers, return to the border crossings, as Israel and Egypt have proposed. He said Abbas' forces were not ready for Gaza. "It's a limited force. And in order to take it to Gaza, I think they need first more training, more forces, and this is something that takes time." Even if Hamas agreed to let Abbas' PA run the crossings, Israel believes Hamas would maintain control behind the scenes and take over "within days," he said. (Reuters)
  • Fatah Says It Is Attacked by Hamas - Sabrina Tavernise
    Yasser Abd Rabbo, an ally of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, said in Ramallah on Thursday that Hamas had "turned its rifles in the direction of Fatah members" after Israel stopped its military offensive on Sunday. Rabbo accused Hamas of placing Fatah supporters under house arrest and shooting some of them in the legs. (New York Times)
        See also With War Over, Internal Palestinian Fighting Continues - Dana Weiler-Polak
    Israel's operation in Gaza may have ended, but the internal Palestinian fighting is still going strong. According to a Fatah source, Hamas operatives have thus far killed 10 Fatah members and wounded hundreds, fearing that Fatah might try to undermine Hamas' rule. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas Says Fatah Taking Revenge in West Bank - Matthew Kalman
    Hundreds of Hamas supporters have been beaten, arrested and tortured across the West Bank as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas takes revenge on Hamas for its crackdown on his Fatah supporters in Gaza, Hamas activists say. Hamas has admitted arresting, executing and torturing Fatah "spies" it has accused of aiding Israel during the war in Gaza. Hamas leaders also have branded Abbas as an Israeli collaborator. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • U.S. Jewish Leaders Call on Turkey to Curb Anti-Semitic Outbursts
    Five U.S. Jewish groups have expressed their concern over a rise in anti-Semitic events in Turkey in reaction to Israeli military operations in Gaza, penning a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urging him to take action, Turkish media reported Friday. "Our Jewish friends in Turkey feel besieged and threatened. A connection is clearly perceived between the inflammatory denunciation of Israel by Turkish officials and the rise of anti-Semitism," said the letter signed by leaders of the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith International, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. (DPA)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel to Allow Egypt to Boost Force on Gaza Border - Barak Ravid and Anshel Pfeffer
    Israel has taken a favorable view of an Egyptian request to increase the force of its border guards along the Philadelphi Route by at least 750 - and possibly as much as 1,500 - according to a senior Israeli political source. Currently there are 750 Egyptian troops along the border. It is unclear whether the broadening of the Egyptian border force will become part of the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords, or whether it will be a tacit agreement. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Egypt Halting Arms Flow? Forget It! - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland
    Its most important success is that the [IDF] operation will produce quiet for a long time in the south. Israel's deterrence has been reasserted. The IDF was successful, the public has been reassured, the home front functioned well.
        The issue of arms smuggling into Gaza is much more problematic. The only truly effective way to prevent the smuggling would be for the Egyptians to build a buffer zone five kilometers from the border, fence it off, and control the only road through the sand. But they won't do that.
        Israel should be prepared to ease certain border restrictions if the Red Cross is allowed to visit [captured IDF soldier Gilad] Shalit - and should not ease that access if the Red Cross is not allowed to visit. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland is a former national security adviser and former head of the IDF's Planning and Operation branches. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Takes Control of All Gaza Tunnels - Yaakov Katz
    Hamas has seized control of all the smuggling tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor in southern Gaza and has been moving in additional arms since the Gaza operation ended Sunday. The tunnels in Rafah are usually run by local Palestinian clans. Hamas' decision to take control enables it to decide what is smuggled in and to give priority to weapons and explosives.
        On Thursday, Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, was in Cairo for talks about kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and the new anti-smuggling mechanism set up with the Egyptians. The system consists of three layers - intelligence cooperation, obstacles in Sinai, and deployment of new tunnel-detection technology along the border. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Officer: Hamas Use of Children During Gaza Operation Was "Monstrous"
    The Israel Defense Forces' Gaza Division Commander on Thursday branded Hamas' use of women and children during Israel's recent offensive as "monstrous" and "inhumane." Brig. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg said civilians were sent by Hamas to transfer weapons to gunmen during the offensive. He also accused Hamas of booby-trapping many of the civilians' homes. "Entire families in Gaza lived on top of a barrel of explosives for months," Eisenberg said.
        Palestinian civilians have accused Hamas of forcing them to stay in homes from which gunmen shot at Israeli soldiers, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Thursday. (Ha'aretz)
        "Sometimes it's incomprehensible just how monstrously and inhumanely Hamas operatives behave, whether it's to send a woman out with a Koran in one hand and a grenade in the other, or to give a child weapons to transfer from place to place," Eisenberg said. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    New U.S. Mideast Envoy

  • Advice for the New Middle East Envoy - Marty Peretz
    George Mitchell is the U.S. special envoy to Israel for peace talks. Mitchell has been very clear that there is no purpose in negotiations with parties which don't want peace. The delirium of Palestinian politics is a stark fact. Many Palestinians and most in the Palestinian leadership believe they can whittle Israel down to size without they themselves having to whittle down their ambitions. This delirium also translates into the assumption that losing a military confrontation or, in fact, a war has no consequences.
        One of the questions that Mitchell must address first is whether Hamas is really fooling when it says it seeks the elimination of the Jewish state and, secondly, whether Fatah is really willing to live with a Jewish state. I'm afraid that a truthful evaluation is likely to disappoint him. (New Republic)
  • Old Hand for an Old Mission - Jackson Diehl
    President Obama named former senator George J. Mitchell Thursday as a special envoy to the Middle East. The 75-year-old Arab American's return to duty was a reminder that much of what the new administration is facing in the region isn't new - and neither is the initial strategy Obama has adopted. Mitchell headed a panel that was launched in the last days of the Clinton administration, and in May 2001 delivered recommendations to the Bush administration that called for a cease-fire, followed by a series of confidence-building measures. The problem, of course, is that the Mitchell plan of 2001 was a flop. Formally endorsed by all sides, endlessly discussed for more than a year, it was eventually folded into Bush's "road map" scheme of 2002 - which, in turn, also went nowhere. So why try the Mitchell approach again? (Washington Post)
  • New U.S. Mideast Envoy Helped Northern Ireland Peace Negotiations - Herb Keinon
    The peace agreements reached in Northern Ireland are proof that "there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended," George Mitchell told the Jerusalem Post last month. Mitchell was Washington's special envoy to the Northern Ireland peace negotiations that led to the Belfast Agreement in 1998. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Is Not the IRA: The Myths, Misconceptions and Misapplication of the Northern Ireland Peace Process - John Bew and Martyn Frampton (ICA-Jerusalem Center)

    The Gaza War

  • The Phony War Crimes Accusation Against Israel - Alan Dershowitz
    Every time Israel seeks to defend its civilians against terrorist attacks, it is accused of war crimes by various UN agencies, academics and some in the media. It is a totally phony charge concocted as part of Hamas' strategy to delegitimate and demonize the Jewish state. Israel is the only democracy in the world ever accused of war crimes when it fights a defensive war to protect its civilians. This is remarkable, especially in light of the fact that Israel has killed far fewer civilians than any other country in the world that has faced comparable threats. Those who cry "war crime" against Israel don't generally care about war crimes, as such; they often support them when engaged in by countries they like.
        Any discussion of war crimes must be comparative and contextual. If Russia did not commit war crimes when its soldiers massacred tens of thousands of Chechnyans (not even in a defensive war), then on what basis could Israel be accused of accidentally killing a far fewer number of human shields in an effort to protect its civilians? If Israel alone were ever to be charged with "war crimes," that would mark the end of international human rights law as a neutral arbitrator of conduct. If the laws of war and international human rights are to endure, they must be applied to nations in order of the seriousness of the violations, not in order of the political unpopularity of the nations. (Huffington Post)
  • The Battle of Gaza - Clifford D. May
    What took place in Gaza and Israel over the past three weeks was not a war - it was one battle in a war. Or, to be more precise, it was one battle in a "global insurgency" aimed at overthrowing what we used to call - in a more confident era - the Free World. "Yes, Allah is greater than America," Hamas supreme leader Khaled Mashaal said on al-Jazeera television a few years ago. "Allah is greater than the superpowers. We say to the West: By Allah you will be defeated." Too many people refuse to understand: Hamas is not fighting for a Palestinian state. Hamas is fighting for the annihilation of Israel which it would replace with an Islamic emirate. Not the same thing at all.
        There are those who will argue that Hamas wins merely by having survived. But Israel would have lost had it not fought - had it continued to passively accept an endless rain of Hamas missiles on its citizens. Over the days ahead, Hamas may resume its attacks on Israel, or dig new tunnels to smuggle in new missiles to prepare for future attacks. If so, Israel may feel the need to respond strongly - to re-establish deterrence and demonstrate that it can withstand pressure from those in the "international community" all too eager to try to appease radical Islam. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (National Review)
  • Hamas' Newspeak Prolongs This War - Uri Dromi
    From his safe haven in Damascus, the capital of terror organizations in our region, Mousa Abu Marzook announced in the Guardian that in the recent clash in Gaza, Israel had suffered "a decisive loss." By "decisive loss," he probably refers to the new reality by which Hamas will no longer be allowed to shell Israeli cities indiscriminately and get away with it. We have seen such things before. Following the Six-Day War - the greatest defeat the Arabs suffered for their aggression against Israel - Egyptian President Nasser had the chutzpah to declare victory.
        It is easy to dismiss Abu Marzook's ranting as sheer hallucination, except that if the way of Hamas is really the path Palestinians have chosen to pursue their goals, then a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not in the cards. If Hamas stops harassing Israel and smuggling arms, and accepts a two-state solution, it will find in Israel a solid partner in carving out a better future for our children. (Guardian-UK)
  • Gaza Fighting Makes Peace Prospects Less Likely - Jim Michaels
    The fighting in Gaza likely made Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation even more distant than before, analysts say. "There's no doubt that Obama is committed to doing something...but I think that, after Gaza, a full-fledged peace process between Israelis and Palestinians just isn't likely in the near term," said Yossi Alpher, a former defense adviser to Israel. "Obama will probably have to focus more on conflict management, on trying to ensure hostilities don't break out again."
        Martin van Creveld, a former professor at Hebrew University, said, "There was a time ten years ago when I had great hopes for the peace process. No longer." He calls the Gaza war a "success" because it stopped Hamas' rocket fire - and he says it's just the latest example of Israel "hitting its neighbors over the head" to demonstrate its military power. Israel's use of force was effective enough to intimidate its foes and ensure that a relative calm followed. "That's not peace, but at least it's the absence of bloodshed," van Creveld says. "And in my mind, that's a hell of a lot." (USA Today)
  • The Impact of Israel's Gaza Mini-War - Gerald Steinberg
    In Gaza, the stated goals were deliberately limited. One-third of the country withstood missile attacks for three weeks. Israel took Hamas by surprise, overcoming the array of explosives and weapons placed in, around, and under houses, hospitals, mosques, and schools. Key terrorist leaders were killed.
        The diplomatic initiatives - led by French President Sarkozy, with his European counterparts - provided a theatrical diversion with little substance. This intense motion propped up Mubarak's crumbling regime, and created a facade of international cooperation in preventing Iran from rearming Hamas. In parallel, the continuing demonization of Israel and anti-Semitism that accompanied the war reinforced Israeli distrust of Europe. Dozens of groups funded by European governments falsely blamed Israel for a "humanitarian crisis," while ignoring the import and manufacture of thousands of rockets under Hamas. The writer is chairman of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and executive director of NGO Monitor. (Totally Jewish-UK)

    Perspectives on the Gaza War from Britain, Ireland, and Australia

  • Britain Giving Up Against Global Jihad - Melanie Phillips
    In Britain, the war in Gaza has revealed the extent to which the media, intelligentsia and political class have simply crumbled in the face of the global jihad. Years of demonizing Israel and appeasing Islamist extremism within Britain have now coalesced, as a result of the media misrepresentation of the Gaza war as an atrocity against civilians, in an unprecedented wave of hatred against Israel and a sharp rise in attacks on British Jews.
        It was Britain which took the lead in framing the UN resolution calling upon Israel to withdraw all its forces from Gaza while making no mention whatever of Hamas. And it was Britain which also drew a disquieting moral equivalence between Hamas terrorism and Israeli self-defense. Nevertheless, "middle Britain" is beginning to grasp that the Islamists in Gaza are the same as those rampaging through the streets of London. (Wall Street Journal Europe)
  • Irish Negativity Toward Israel a "Misplaced Sympathy for Underdog" - Olivia Kelly
    Ireland's negative reaction to the Israeli operation in Gaza appears to be linked to a misplaced sympathy with the underdog, Israeli Education Minister Yuli Tamir, a founder member of the Peace Now movement, has suggested. She told The Irish Times Monday that she was disappointed people were more influenced by "the last picture you've seen on TV" than an in-depth understanding of the conflict. Hamas had failed to protect Palestinians, while Israel had successfully protected its citizens. "The Hamas were targeting our children all the time. We were very cautious - why didn't the Hamas make any effort to protect the children? While smuggling all those weapons and arms, they never thought about also using some materials to protect the children, to fortify places for them so they can hide."
        The Israeli government regretted civilian deaths, she said. However, Israel had acted with a "lot of restraint and patience" and had endured eight years of bombing of its citizens before it felt compelled to act. "It's not necessarily the case that the weaker party is really fighting a just war. I think this is the case, that the weaker party fights a dirty war and fights it for reasons I think nobody in Ireland would support." (Irish Times)
  • Israel's Gaza Action Is a Just Defense Despite Death Toll - Robert Goot
    No way has yet been found to conduct even the most justified war without causing harm to innocent civilians. During World War II, Royal Air Force bombers flattened entire German cities in response to Nazi bombing and rocket attacks against civilian targets in London and elsewhere. Most of the German dead, numbering in their tens of thousands, were civilians. Australian troops fighting in Vietnam, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan have also sometimes caused more casualties among civilians than among the enemy. Yet nobody would have the right to call Australian troops murderers. To apply different, and much harsher, standards to Israeli forces engaged in putting an end to more than 8,000 Hamas rocket attacks deliberately aimed at killing and maiming Israeli civilians, and which constitute a war crime, is therefore the height of hypocrisy. The writer is president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
        See also Negotiating with Terrorists Is Impossible - Mark Leibler
    Is anyone seriously arguing that if a democratically elected government makes its fundamental policy a genocidal war to the death against a neighboring state, the international community must nod and say, "OK, let's talk about it"? It is necessary to do everything possible to marginalize Hamas. This is the only way to further enhance the efforts of the more conciliatory Palestinian leaders in their negotiations with an Israel that in recent years has been more than ready for a genuine two-state outcome. The writer is national chairman of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. (The Age-Australia)
        See also Images of Bloodshed Obscure Truth - Albert Dadon
    The writer is the founder and chairman of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange. (The Australian)
  • Observations:

    Obama on the Middle East (Washington Post)

    President Obama discussed the Middle East at the State Department on Thursday:

    • It will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors.
    • History shows us that strong and sustained American engagement can bridge divides and build the capacity that supports progress. And that is why we will be sending George (Mitchell) to the region as soon as possible to help the parties ensure that the cease-fire that has been achieved is made durable and sustainable.
    • Let me be clear: America is committed to Israel's security. And we will always support Israel's right to defend itself against legitimate threats. For years, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at innocent Israeli citizens. No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people, nor should the international community, and neither should the Palestinian people themselves, whose interests are only set back by acts of terror.
    • To be a genuine party to peace, the Quartet has made it clear that Hamas must meet clear conditions: recognize Israel's right to exist; renounce violence; and abide by past agreements. Going forward, the outline for a durable cease-fire is clear: Hamas must end its rocket fire; Israel will complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza; the United States and our partners will support a credible anti-smuggling and interdiction regime, so that Hamas cannot rearm.
    • I was deeply concerned by the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent days and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs in Gaza. Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water, and basic medical care, and who've faced suffocating poverty for far too long.
    • Now, just as the terror of rocket fire aimed at innocent Israelis is intolerable, so, too, is a future without hope for the Palestinians. Now we must extend a hand of opportunity to those who seek peace. As part of a lasting cease-fire, Gaza's border crossings should be open to allow the flow of aid and commerce, with an appropriate monitoring regime, with international and Palestinian Authority participation.
    • Relief efforts must be able to reach innocent Palestinians who depend on them. The United States will fully support an international donor's conference to seek short-term humanitarian assistance and long-term reconstruction for the Palestinian economy. This assistance will be provided to and guided by the Palestinian Authority.
    • Lasting peace requires more than a long cease-fire, and that's why I will sustain an active commitment to seek two states living side by side in peace and security....The Arab peace initiative contains constructive elements that could help advance these efforts. Now is the time for Arab states to act on the initiative's promise by supporting the Palestinian government under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, taking steps towards normalizing relations with Israel, and by standing up to extremism that threatens us all.

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