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Inside the Middle East
January 12, 2009
Posted: 1440 GMT

It's the last news conference of his presidency and the U.S. President said that a "sustainable ceasefire" in gaza would only be accomplished when "Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel."

Bush said that the "choice is Hamas's to make." He also stated that the best way to get a sustainable cease-fire is to "work with Egypt to stop the smuggling of arms into... Gaza.

"Countries that supply weapons to Hamas have got to stop," Bush said.

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Filed under: Gaza •Israel


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January 10, 2009
Posted: 429 GMT

The United Nations today said it would re start transporting aid into Gaza.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees suspended food delivery operations Thursday to 750,000 Palestinian refugees after strikes by Israel killed one of its drivers and wounded another. The U.N. said the aid workers "had received Israeli clearance."

U.N. officials attended a high-level meeting at the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Friday. There, "the U.N. received credible assurances that the security of U.N. personnel, installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected," a U.N. statement said

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Filed under: Gaza •Israel •United Nations


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January 9, 2009
Posted: 405 GMT

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It look less time than during the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006, but will it work?

The United Nations Security Council has just overwhelmingly passed an immediate ceasefire resolution in the Gaza conflict.

Fourteen of the council's 15 members voted in favor of the resolution, with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice abstaining from the vote on behalf of the United States.

The resolution expresses "grave concern" about the growing humanitarian crisis and heavy civilian casualties in Gaza, as well as civilian deaths in Israel from Hamas rocket fire.

A resolution from the council, particularly one that passes with such large support, can put international pressure on parties involved in a conflict. But they are in no way binding, and many in the past have been ignored by warring factions.

In fact, senior international correspondent Nic Robertson says that within minutes of the resolution passing, sounds of fighting could still be heard from the gaza-Israel border.

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Filed under: Gaza •Hamas •Israel


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January 8, 2009
Posted: 1903 GMT

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GAZA CITY, Gaza (CNN) - Israeli forces fired on a U.N. aid convoy Thursday in Gaza, killing two aid workers, during a three-hour truce that Israel set up to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

"Since the conflict began 13 days ago, four UNRWA local staff have been killed," according to a statement from Ban's representative referring to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

"The U.N. is in close touch with the Israeli authorities about a full investigation of this and other incidents, and about the need for urgent measures to avoid them in the future."

As a result of Thursday's fatal attack on its aid convoy, the U.N. relief agency will suspend activities in Gaza until the Israeli military can guarantee the safety of its staff, said the agency's chief spokesman, Chris Gunness, in Jerusalem.

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Filed under: Gaza •Israel •United Nations


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Posted: 1530 GMT

GAZA CITY, Gaza (CNN) - The U.N.'s main humanitarian aid group in Gaza has suspended its activities in the Palestinian territory.

  

The announcement comes after Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for the U.N Relief and Works Agency, told CNN that a UNRWA aid truck driver was killed by an Israeli tank shell near the Erez crossing.

 

 UNRWA chief spokesman Chris Gunness said the agency will suspend its activities until the Israeli military can guarantee the safety of its staff.

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Filed under: Gaza •Israel •United Nations


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Posted: 1332 GMT

lebsite

Is this an escalation of the conflict or a one-off?

Four rockets were fired from Southern Lebanon into Northern Israel today.

The rockets lightly wounded two people.

Hezbollah has denied involvement and the Lebanon government says an "unknown group" is responsible.

The rockets hit near the city of Nahariya, located about six miles from the Lebanese border, police said. The Israeli military said it returned fire toward the source of the rockets after the attack.

Some suspect Palestinian factions operating in that region, but none has claimed responsibility.

(Photo Getty Images – UN soliders inspect site thought to be source of rocket attack)

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Filed under: Israel •Lebanon


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January 7, 2009
Posted: 2249 GMT

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, just said at the U.N. that there has been a willingness by Hamas to consider the Franco-Egyptian truce proposal but there has not been acceptance.

He said there will be an Israeli team but that he is not sure if Hamas reps will make the trip to Cairo. He also did not describe the seniority level of the Israeli team. Is is a techincal team or above?

More murkiness and uncertainty.

We'll keep following the diplomatic angle of the Gaza conflict.

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Filed under: Egypt •Gaza •Hamas •Israel


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Posted: 2110 GMT

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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she supports a French and Egyptian Ceasefire plan.

Israel will send two envoys to Cairo, Egypt, in the coming days to discuss a Gaza truce plan which is still being hammered out, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Wednesday.

Israel will send two envoys to Cairo, Egypt, in the coming days to discuss a Gaza truce plan which is still being hammered out, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Wednesday.

The Cairo peace initiative is still in a stage of general guidelines, and no specific details have been addressed, the Israeli Foreign Ministry official told CNN.

Those guidelines call for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and an apparatus for stopping arms smuggling into Gaza, the official said.

However, diplomats told CNN that while there is common ground among the United States, the EU, Israel and moderate Arabs on an acceptable settlement, it differs slightly from the French-Egypt plan.

The agreement taking shape among those groups, according to diplomats, calls for a stop to Hamas rocket fire; addressing weapons smuggling into Gaza; and opening the border crossings to improve the economic situation and increase humanitarian aid. A cease-fire would not take effect until those conditions are met, the diplomats said.

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Filed under: Gaza •Hamas •Israel


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Posted: 1835 GMT

gaza23

After a three-hour truce, israeli airstrikes started up again over Gaza today.

The three-hour truce is scheduled to take place every other day.

Is it helping alleviate the suffering?

U.N. Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness told CNN that the three-hour truce deal is not enough to alleviate the "deepening humanitarian crisis" in Gaza.

"We are feeding 750,000 (people) on a permanent basis," Gunness said. "More than three hours a day are needed for that."

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Posted: 1313 GMT

JERUSALEM (CNN) - The Israeli military is halting its military operations in Gaza for three hours today to allow residents of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory to obtain supplies.

The temporary cease-fire will take place in the "whole of the Gaza Strip" from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. (6 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET) today, Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Peter Lerner told CNN.

The three-hour truce is scheduled to take place every other day.

"This is in order to enable replenishing of supplies and allow aid activities," he said.

Lerner noted that Israeli forces would respond to any aggression toward them during the pause.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, who is positioned along the Israel-Gaza border, said he heard a rocket fired from Israel into Gaza shortly after the truce was to commence.

"If the lull was supposed to begin 14 minutes ago; it hasn't begun yet," Wedeman said.

The announcement follows Israel's decision to open a "humanitarian corridor" into Gaza in response to mounting concerns about shortages of food, water and medicine in the territory.

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Filed under: Gaza •Hamas •Israel


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