Rice to UN: New Arrangements in Gaza Must End Rocket Attacks on Israel

[State Department] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the UN Security Council on Tuesday: The ongoing attacks against Israel and the decision that Hamas made not to respect the previous period of calm shows us that when this ends there must be new arrangements in place, not a return to the status quo ante. It is imperative that any ceasefire is durable and sustainable, and that it ensures the safety and security of Israelis and Palestinians alike. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis lived under the daily threat of rocket attack, and frankly, no country, none of our countries, would have been willing to tolerate such a circumstance. Moreover, the people of Gaza watched as insecurity and lawlessness increased and as their living conditions grew more dire because of Hamas' actions which began with the illegal coup against the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. A ceasefire that returns to those circumstances is unacceptable and it will not last. We need urgently to conclude a ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security. This would begin a period of true calm that includes an end to rocket, mortar, and other attacks on Israelis, and allows for the cessation of Israel's military offensive. And it must include also an end to the smuggling into Gaza and a reopening of crossings so that Palestinians can benefit from humanitarian goods and basic supplies. We must find a way, with the consent and full cooperation of likeminded governments, to prevent any arms or explosives from entering Gaza, and the tunnel systems that have allowed rearmament of Hamas must be prevented from reopening. Our goal must be the stabilization and normalization of life in Gaza. This will require a principled resolution of the political challenges in Gaza that reestablishes ultimately the Palestinian Authority's legitimate control and facilitates the normal operation of all crossings. We need very much to find a solution to this problem in the short term. But it really must be a solution this time that does not allow Hamas to use Gaza as a launching pad against Israeli cities. It has to be a solution that does not allow the rearmament of Hamas. And it must be a solution that finds a way to open crossings so that Palestinians in Gaza can have a normal life.

2009-01-07 06:00:00

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