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Old 08-04-2014, 09:16 PM
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Israel/Palestine Conflict Discussion Thread #3

From the previous thread:

Originally Posted by sunnykerr (View Post)
I think you've just summed up what I had hoped this board would do.

It's possible to be critical without being prejudiced.

It's possible to have rational debate without falling into personal attacks.

And it's certainly possible to support one country's right to defend its territory and also criticize its invasion of other people's land.
The latest news on the subject:

Gaza conflict: Israel and Hamas 'agree ceasefire'

Israel and Palestinian groups including Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza, officials and Egyptian mediators say.

The ceasefire will start at 08:00 local time (05:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

On Monday Israel held its own seven-hour "humanitarian window" in Gaza but then resumed its military operations.

Health officials in Gaza say more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in the four-week conflict, which has also claimed 67 Israeli lives.

A Thai national working in Israel was also killed.

'Without preconditions'

There have been several truces called during the conflict but few have lasted, with each side accusing the other of violations.

The latest was discussed on Monday by various Palestinian groups in Cairo, although Israel did not attend.

However, a senior Israeli official later told the BBC: "Israel will accept the draft of the Egyptian proposal for an unconditional ceasefire, without preconditions and for 72 hours."

Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, which controls Gaza, told Reuters news agency: "Hamas told Egypt a short while ago of its acceptance of a 72-hour period of calm."

A senior Egyptian official told AFP news agency: "Egypt's contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza."

Egypt negotiated a similar truce earlier in the conflict that was accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas.

The new agreement proposes that delegations from all sides then attend further talks in Cairo.

The main Palestinian demands remain on the table, notably a full Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza, the end of the blockade of the territory and the opening of border crossings.

Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken welcomed the ceasefire but told CNN that it was up to Hamas to maintain the truce.

"This is a real opportunity. We strongly support the initiative," he said.

In Washington, President Barack Obama approved legislation to provide a further $225m to help Israel run its "Iron Dome" anti-missile shield.

Earlier state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki denied the US position was contradictory.

She said it was possible to strategically support its ally by providing it with defence supplies, but criticise the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also welcomed the ceasefire, and he called on both sides to hold talks in Egypt to begin as soon as possible.
The BBC's Mark Lowen, in Cairo, says Hamas needs to be seen to have achieved something after more than 1,800 Palestinian deaths, but a longer-term calm will need both sides to give ground.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said again on Monday that Israel's main goal was to "return quiet and security to the citizens of Israel".

Speaking after the seven-hour truce ended, he also said that the military operation would not end until all tunnels used by militants to infiltrate Israel were destroyed.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks.
more here:BBC News - Gaza conflict: Israel and Hamas 'agree ceasefire'
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:26 PM
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Apparently, they're re-negotiating the borders.

I'm not sure that's a good sign, over the long term.

But it's far from done, so we'll see.
"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:52 PM
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Month-long war in Gaza has left a humanitarian and environmental crisis

Everywhere you look there is destruction: mosques, factories, schools, hospitals, universities and thousands of houses, many shattered into piles of bricks, glass and metal. Roads mangled by military tanks and bulldozers. Cities without electricity, pitch black at night. The main sewage plant disabled, polluting the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.

And amid the ruins, more tragedy looms. Caught between Israeli airstrikes and Hamas mortars and rockets, entire families have been wiped out and their social safety nets destroyed. Nearly one-third of Gaza’s 1.8 million people have been forced to flee their houses, and many are now homeless. Tens of thousands of children are believed to be suffering from psychological trauma, according to the United Nations.

As a temporary cease-fire held for a second day, Palestinians are coming to grips with a deepening humanitarian and environmental crisis that threatens to affect Gaza for years. The scale of destruction and loss over nearly a month of war, Gazans and international aid workers say, is far more devastating than that left after the two previous Israel-Hamas battles, in 2009 and 2012.

“I am 70 years old, and I have not witnessed a war anything like this one,” Muhammed al-Astal said as he inspected the remains of his cream-colored house, which had been devastated by Israeli shells. “This is not war. This is eradication.”

As negotiations began in Cairo on Wednesday to secure a broader truce between Israel and Hamas, the rebuilding of Gaza emerged as a key element of a solution to the current conflict. Under discussion is an international donor conference to raise funds and the reconstruction directed by the Western-backed Palestinian government of Mahmoud Abbas, which lost control of the coastal enclave when Hamas seized power in 2007.

Billions were also spent on reconstructing Gaza after Israel’s 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead offensive against Hamas. Back then also, schools, factories, bridges, mosques and more than 6,000 homes were badly damaged or destroyed, according to the United Nations. But five years later, many of the structures haven’t been fully rebuilt. Now, the current conflict has brought even more wreckage.

Speaking Wednesday in front of the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “The massive deaths and destruction in Gaza have shocked and shamed the world.”

“We will build again, but this must be the last time to rebuild,” the U.N. chief said. “This must stop now. We must go back to the negotiating table.”

Palestinian officials estimate that airstrikes and shelling have wrecked at least 10,000 houses and seriously damaged 30,000 more. As many as 80 mosques have been damaged or destroyed. Many farming areas and industrial zones, filled with the small manufacturing plants and factories that anchored Gaza’s economy, are now wastelands.

“Most of the life has been destroyed,” said Mofeed Al-Hasayneh, the Palestinian government’s Gaza-based minister of public works and housing, adding that it could take “seven to eight years” to rebuild the houses and other structures without assistance from the world.

Even international relief organizations, accustomed to working in hard-hit war zones, have expressed shock at the scale of the damage.

“I’ve never seen such massive destruction ever before,” Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in a tweet Tuesday after visiting Gaza.
And, of course, the ceasefire didn't hold.

I'm not trying to absolve Hamas for their role in this.

I'm just saying, that's a whole lot of innocent people stuck in an absolute disaster.
"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:11 PM
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What a terrible mess.
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