"Olmert orders plans drawn up for massive offensive against Gaza; Invaders accuse Hamas of 'shattering' truce
by Agence France Presse (AFP)
Monday, November 17, 2008
The head of the Hamas administration in Gaza, deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya, said Israel was violating the truce and demanded that Israel prove its interest by keeping to its side of the bargain.
“Israel must turn its words about a truce into action by halting aggression and lifting the unjust siege,” he said, dismissing calls by some Israeli leaders for a resumption of assassinations against Hamas leaders. “Such threats don’t even frighten the smallest Palestinian child,” he added.
Haniyya made his comments at the funeral of four Palestinian militants from the Popular Resistance Committees, a small armed group not linked to Hamas, who were killed in the Israeli air raid on Gaza City earlier on Sunday....
Meanwhile, Israeli officials said the Jewish state’s border crossings with Gaza, which is denied control by Israel of its land and sea borders in addition to its airspace, would remain closed to humanitarian deliveries to the aid-dependent territory, despite mounting international calls for a resumption of much-needed food and fuel.... Various human-rights groups, in addition to UN and EU officials, have decried the siege as collective punishment of a civilian population, an act illegal under international law.
The Israeli siege has forced the UN to suspend food distribution to 750,000 Gaza residents and the territory’s sole power plant to shut down. Roughly half of the enclave’s population lives in abject poverty and is entirely depended on international food handouts for survival.
Under the terms of the truce, the Jewish state pledged to lift the blockade. But despite the deal halting rocket fire from Gaza - Israel’s main condition - no substantial opening of the border crossings was made.
“The [Gaza] crossings will remain closed until further orders,” said Israel’s liaison officer for the Palestinian territories, Peter Lerner....
At the weekly Cabinet meeting, Olmert said he had ordered security chiefs to draw up action plans against Hamas’ 17-month-old rule in Gaza.
“The responsibility for the shattering of the calm and the creation of a situation of prolonged and repeated violence in the south of the country is entirely on Hamas and the other terror groups in Gaza,” Olmert told ministers. “I instructed them to … present different action plans against the Hamas terror rule without its hampering our ability to use all necessary force in our response to violations of the calm,” he added.
A senior official quoted Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister, as saying at the Cabinet meeting: “We must stop talking and start a policy of targeted killing against the Hamas leadership.”***************
Iranian legislators urge united front to aid Gazans
TEHRAN: Iranian MPs denounced the crisis in Gaza and asked Islamic organizations to respond to “cries” from Gaza’s people, Iran’s labor news agency ILNA reported Sunday.
A declaration supported by 217 members of the conservative-dominated 290-seat Parliament, the MPs condemned “the deteriorating situation and a great humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza.
“In recent days, the disastrous situation in Gaza has worsened and a great humanitarian tragedy is on the verge of taking place,” it said. “In addition to savage killings, lack of water, electricity [and] health services have placed the population in the worst conditions,” it said.
The deputies voiced “solidarity” with the Gazan people and asked the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Muslim parliaments to take a collective stance and respond to the “cries of Gazans.”