Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell heads straight for Israel

Posted by claudiacampli su 26 gennaio, 2009

Times

George Mitchell, the new US peace envoy, will fly into Israel tomorrow as the Obama administration signals its determination to tackle the Middle East conflict.

The veteran senator, who helped Northern Ireland end its protracted conflict, previously recommended that Israel halt settlement growth in the occupied territories and that Palestinians crack down on militant when he headed a 2001 task force to investigate the reasons for the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada.

The main purpose of his first trip will be to explore the new complexities of the conflict, in particular the split of the Palestinian camp into the hard-line Islamist Hamas regime in Gaza and the more moderate Fatah administration in the West Bank.

After the latest war in Gaza, Hamas said it would consider a year-long truce with Israel, but Gazans hold out little hope for the talks and many are desperately trying to sell property in areas likely to be in the front line of Israel’s next assault.

Ayman Taha, a Hamas negotiator, said after discussions in Egypt that Israel must lift its blockade of the impoverished territory if it wanted to avoid renewed Palestinian rocket fire into its southern towns.

“Hamas listened to the Israeli proposal presented by [Israeli envoy] Amos Gilad and with it a proposal for a ceasefire for a year and a half, but Hamas presented a counterproposal of one year only,” he said. Israel refuses to open the borders as long as there are Hamas members – whom it considers terrorists – on the other side.

Various proposals are under discussion in Cairo, including motions to introduce Egyptian, EU or Turkish monitors to supervise crossings and try to inhibit Hamas smuggling in more armaments.

But the negotiations are hobbled by the fact that Israel and Hamas refuse to talk to each other, while the two main Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, are still squabbling over who will is the legitimate government and who will ultimately take control of the estimated $2 billion reconstruction money needed to tackle the massive damage of Israel’s three-week onslaught.

A senior European envoy inspecting the damage today expressed the EU’s deepening exasperation at continually footing the bill for the seemingly intractable dispute between the two foes. “At this time we have to also recall the overwhelming responsibility of Hamas,” said Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid. “I intentionally say this here – Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such.

“Public opinion is fed up to see that we are paying over and over again – be it the [European] Commission, the member states or the major donors – for infrastructure that will be systematically destroyed,” he added.

Egyptian officials have reportedly warned Hamas to push ahead with a deal as quickly as possible, warning them that if right-wing hawk Binyamin Netanyahu wins Israel’s February 10 elections, then the Islamists could “lose everything”.

And as Israel’s one-week, unilaterally declared ceasefire expired today, Gazans braced for a new bout of blood-letting.

“All it will take is for one rocket to land in Sderot and the Israelis will be back. They are just looking for an excuse to come finish us off,” said Muhammad al-Zeittay, 47, from Beit Hanoun, close to the border with Israel.

In Gaza’s outlying areas, closest to the border with Israel, residents kept one eye on the horizon for Israeli tanks, while children on rooftops challenged each other to spot Israeli drones or apache helicopters.

In what has become the “villa area” on the northern outskirts of Gaza City, middle-class Palestinians had planned a well-to-do enclave. Now, many are selling their property there and buying flats in the city centres, where they feel they will be more protected in the next military operation

Mahmoud al-Darwid planned to build his family a house with “a bit of space”, but today he was asking about apartments in the heart of Gaza City’s downtown district.

As he discussed one promising flat, an Israeli F16 plane passed overhead. Grabbing his daughter, he quickly ran inside, only to emerge moments later carrying the 8-year-old, who was crying.

“The truth is nowhere is safe. We are scared everywhere.”

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