Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

Congressmen and Kerry Visit Gaza

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 20 febbraio, 2009

GAZA — Three Congressional Democrats came to Gaza on Thursday in the first visits by American legislators since 2000 and the first by American government officials since Hamas took control, according to a spokeswoman for the United States Consulate in Jerusalem.

The three, including Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said they wanted to see for themselves the destruction caused by the war with Israel last month and to assess the area’s needs.

Mr. Kerry said that his visit indicated no change in American policy toward Hamas, which is officially committed to the destruction of Israel and which the United States labels a terrorist group. He said he would not meet with any Hamas leaders.

“Hamas has to change its policies,” Mr. Kerry said at the ruins of the American International School in Gaza, which was destroyed by an Israeli air attack in early January. “There is no change in our policy.”

Mr. Kerry, who is on a tour of the region, entered Gaza after seeing the remains of Palestinian rockets fired at the Israeli city of Sderot. He was accompanied in Sderot by Israel’s foreign minister, Tzipi Livni.

Separately, two congressmen visited Gaza: Representative Brian Baird, Democrat of Washington, and Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota. Their trip was arranged independently of Mr. Kerry’s but included similar tours of destroyed areas and meetings with United Nations officials.

Although none of the Americans met with Hamas officials, a senior Hamas leader said he was pleased by their visit.

“This is a very good step reflecting the seriousness of this administration to follow up and get information about what is happening on the ground,” said Ahmed Youssef, the deputy foreign minister in the Hamas government. “We know that we are still on the terrorist list and we know their position about not engaging with Hamas. But we are still happy that they are the ones evaluating the scale of the Israeli crimes and the destruction caused by Israel. By seeing for themselves, they can get a more balanced view than that of the previous administration.”

Mr. Kerry seemed intent on learning what Gazans needed most urgently. Sharhabeel al-Zaeem, a Gaza lawyer who is on the board of the American school, said the central need was for a full opening of the border crossings into Gaza so that the destroyed areas could be rebuilt and the economy restarted. Israel has allowed in humanitarian assistance since the war, but has not opened the crossings for many other goods and it remains very difficult, if not impossible, for Gazans to leave.

Asked whether Gazans had enough food, Mr. Zaeem said they did but that there was not enough fuel for cars.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/world/middleeast/20mideast.html?ref=middleeast

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