Related News

Home » World

Israel firm on border access

ISRAEL has dismissed international calls for a full reopening of border crossings with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, leaving a shaky cease-fire and post-war reconstruction in doubt.

Hamas has conditioned abiding by the cease-fire, which took effect last Sunday, on Israel lifting its crippling blockade.

But a top adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to rule that out on Friday. "If opening the passages will strengthen Hamas, we won't do it," he said.

While a United Nations official praised Israel's "goodwill" for letting 120 truckloads per day of food and medicine into Gaza, other diplomats decried restrictions on steel and cement imports needed to make repairs after Israel's 22-day offensive.

Israel also blocked the Palestinian Authority from sending cash to Gaza, despite international warnings that President Mahmoud Abbas's standing was at stake.

"They are afraid it will go to Hamas," a senior Western diplomat said of the cash. Barring a swift change in Israeli policy, the diplomat said the emergency response and long-term reconstruction were "bound to fail".

American officials voiced support, under certain conditions, for opening the crossings more fully, but they set no timetable.

John Ging, who heads the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip, said the end-result of Israel's war, which killed 1,300 Palestinians and injured more than 5,000 others, was "more extremists."

Thirteen Israelis were killed: 10 soldiers and three civilians hit by Hamas rocket fire.

Israel believes the restrictions at the crossings will give it leverage in Egyptian-mediated talks with Hamas to free Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured in 2006.

But it is under increasing pressure to do more to ease hardships for Gaza's 1.5 million residents.

US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that Gaza's border crossings should be reopened to humanitarian and commercial goods under a "monitoring regime" that includes Abbas's Palestinian Authority, Hamas's rival.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend