Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

U.S. Pact Seen as Step Toward Gaza Cease-Fire

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 16 gennaio, 2009


16 January 2009

WASHINGTON — The United States has agreed to a range of measures, including providing international monitors, to help Israel stem the smuggling of weapons into Gaza, a step that could open the way for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

The hastily drafted agreement, a memorandum of understanding, was signed in Washington on Friday by Ms. Rice and the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni.

Outlining details of the agreement at a news conference in Washington, Ms. Rice said the agreement “should be thought of as one of the elements of trying to bring into being a durable cease-fire.”

Later, speaking alongside Ms. Rice at the signing ceremony, Ms. Livni said the agreement represented “specific steps to end the flow of weapons.”

The agreement will provide American technical assistance, as well as monitors, to crack down on the network of tunnels through which Hamas moves components for rockets and missiles through the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza. The composition of the monitoring force was not yet clear, as Israeli and American diplomats were still working out final details, a senior American official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ms. Rice said ending the smuggling of weapons from countries like Iran was one of the conditions for a cease-fire and that European allies including Britain, Germany and France were likely to join in the monitoring effort.

But she said the agreement was only supportive of broader negotiations being carried out by Egypt, and she refused to say when a cease-fire could actually take place and the fighting in Gaza would stop.

“We are doing everything we can to bring it to an end,” she said.

She raised the possibility of donor conferences — possibly led by the Czech Republic and Norway — to deal with the humanitarian conditions in Gaza after a cease-fire and to help rebuild the territory.

“There is much that can be done to bring Gaza out of the dark of Hamas’s reign and into the light of the very good governance the Palestinian Authority can bring,” she said.

Ms. Rice said the incoming Obama administration had been briefed on the developments, including contact between Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and Gen. James L. Jones. A White House spokesman, Sean McCormack, said the agreement would not have moved forward without “close consultation” with President-elect Barack Obama and that Ms. Rice also spoke to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The daily launching of rockets from Gaza into southern Israeli towns prompted the Israeli government to begin a military assault on Dec. 27 — a campaign that has subjected Israel to mounting criticism as civilian casualties in Gaza have risen and a United Nations facility was hit by Israel.

By itself, the memorandum does not constitute a cease-fire, a senior American official said. But it will give the Israeli government confidence to agree to open border crossings in Gaza, a key demand of Hamas. That could allow both sides to sign on to an Egyptian-sponsored cease-fire proposal, the senior American official said.

Graham Bowley contributed reporting from New York.




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