U.S., Israel Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Ceasefire

Published January 16th, 2009 - 07:23 GMT

Memorandum of Understanding (between Israel and the U.S., between the U.S. and Israel)
Statement by TIP Spokesman Lanny Davis
Experts Available to be interviewed on Israel/Gaza
TIP's New Bipartisan Poll on Israel/Gaza
TIP Begins TV Ad Campaign As Hamas Fires Iranian-made Rockets
Breakdown of Humanitarian Aid (courtesy of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni traveled to Washington, D.C. Friday (Jan. 16) to meet with U.S. officials and sign an agreement between the two countries to prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups from smuggling weapons into Gaza through Egypt. [1] [2]

According to State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, the “Memorandum of Understanding†commits U.S. "resources, wherewithal and technology necessary in order to fulfill our part of the bargain. The essential element of this is to inhibit the ability of Hamas to rearm." [3]

The deal comes as a new bipartisan poll (power point, word document, audio file of conference call) commissioned by The Israel Project (TIP) shows that Americans blame the Palestinians for the current conflict in Gaza (56%-18%). By a wide margin (66%-17%), Americans blame “Hamas leaders who control Gaza†for the current humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. It also comes as Israel continues its 21-day defensive operation in Gaza to put an end to Iran-backed Hamas’ eight-year-old rocket campaign against Israeli civilians. The operation targeted Hamas, including its strongholds and multitude of weapons caches. [4]

Said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of The Israel Project, "Any sustainable outcome of the war will need three key components: No more rockets fired at Israeli civilians, no re-arming of Hamas, and no more culture of hate that indoctinates Palestinian children to hate Israel on one hand, and uses them as civilian shields on the other. Only when the terror and the culture of hate stops can peace begin."

Prior to the defensive action Israeli officials were vocal and unified in stating their lack of desire to go to war against Hamas and explaining that they were forced to do so to protect their citizens from Hamas’ constant rocket, mortar and missile attacks.

Two days before Israel finally took action, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a final plea to Gaza residents: “You the citizens of Gaza, you can stop it,†Olmert said in a televised interview on the Arabic TV network al-Arabiya. “I know how much you want to get up in the morning to quiet, to take your children to kindergarten or school, the way we do, the way they want to in Sderot and Netivot…

“We want to live as good neighbors with Gaza,†Olmert said. “We do not want to harm you. We will not allow a humanitarian crisis and that you should suffer from a lack of food or medicines. We do not want to fight the Palestinian people but we will not allow Hamas to strike our children.†[5]

During the past year, Iran-backed terrorist groups in Gaza have fired more than 3,200 rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians in the southern Negev region, [6] killing four people and wounding more than 270. [7]

Since Israel gave up all of Gaza in 2005 – relinquishing homes, farms, places of business and worship – terrorists have launched more than 6,300 rockets and mortars into Israel from Gaza. The attacks have killed 10 civilians, wounded more than 780 and traumatized thousands of others. [8] The only remaining Israeli in Gaza is Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit who was abducted from Israel on June 25, 2006 by Hamas in a bloody cross-border raid in which the terrorists killed two IDF soldiers and wounded four others. [9]

During a visit five months ago to the southern Israeli city of Sderot, then-candidate and now President-elect Barack Obama defended Israel’s right to protect itself from such attacks: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing." [10]

In addition to firing rockets and mortars, terrorists have smuggled vast amounts of war materiel into Gaza. Israeli Minister for Public Security Avi Dichter said that in July 2008 alone, more than four tons of explosives were smuggled into Gaza via tunnels dug by terrorists under the Egypt-Gaza border. There are 400-600 smuggling tunnels running along Gaza’s Philadelphi Corridor, the strip of land spanning the border between Egypt and Gaza. [11]

Iran, one of the chief sponsors of Palestinian terrorism, provides approximately $20 million to $30 million to Hamas annually and also trains Hamas operatives in Iran and Syria. [12] Approximately 950 Hamas terrorists have been trained in building rockets and bombs, tactical warfare, weapons operation and sniper tactics by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a special division of Iran’s armed forces. [13]

Throughout the operation, Israel has gone to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, ranging from issuing warnings to residents to leave homes and buildings being used as weapons storage before the IDF carried out strikes.

Hamas, on the other hand, has gone out of its way to maximize civilian fatalities and injuries by placing children and other civilians in the line of fire. [14]

An Israeli-Arab weekly newspaper article last week told the story of a child describing being used by Hamas as scouts, couriers and other support roles. "We the children, in small groups and in civilian clothes, are fulfilling missions of support for the [Hamas] Resistance fighters, by transmitting messages about the movements of the enemy forces, or by bringing them ammunition and food,†the child said. “We ourselves are not aware of the movements of the Resistance fighters. We see them in one place, they suddenly disappear, and then reappear somewhere else. They are like ghosts, it is very hard to find them or hurt them.†[15]

An in-depth study released this month by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC), "Hamas Exploitation of Civilians as Human Shields,†shows Hamas’ current and past use of children and other civilians as human shields, such as by firing rockets at Israel from densely populated residential areas.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also provided documented evidence through photos and videos, of Palestinian children being used as human shields in March 2008. Before attacking buildings Hamas terrorists used manufacture rockets, the IDF – to avoid civilian casualties – sent warnings to Palestinians in Gaza to leave the facilities; Hamas would then call on children and other civilians into and around the buildings. [16] Such incidents have been documented by Hamas’ own media. View clip 1; View clip 2

At the same time, many Palestinian casualties were caused by Hamas members killing rival moderate Fatah members. Dozens of Palestinians were intentionally killed by Hamas itself. [17]

Hamas also has continued to fire rockets during the temporary humanitarian ceasefire imposed daily to allow a free flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. [18] Nevertheless, Israel has continued to facilitate daily deliveries of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Since the start of the operation through Jan. 15, the aid and other efforts include:
• About 29,112 tons of humanitarian supplies delivered in 1,202 trucks.
• About 379,443 gallons of fuel delivered.
• 449 dual nationals were evacuated from Gaza.
• 3,000 units of blood were donated by Jordan.
• 5 ambulances donated by Turkey.
• 5 ambulances transferred from the West Bank on behalf of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
• 34 people evacuated to Israel for medical needs, including two injured children. [19]
The Defense Ministry has begun to operate a live feed of the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing into Gaza throughout the hours of the terminal's operation. It includes three cameras showing the points of access and exit of the terminal. [20]   
Breakdown of humanitarian aid - as of Jan 11, 2009 [21]
 [courtesy of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
Tons Number of trucks Goods Organization/
230 36 Medical equipment & medicine supply, 5 ambulances and car equipment ICRC
3,177 169 Food, Medical equipment & medicine supply, candles, generators  UNRWA
2,903 105 Food WFP
184 18 Medical equipment & medicine supply WHO
109 6 Medical equipment & medicine supply UNICEF
2 1 Medical equipment MSF
6 1 Medical equipment MDM
(2,124 blood units) 59 Food, blankets, Medical equipment & medicine supply and blood units  Kingdom of Jordan
26 2 Medical equipment, food, blood units  Greece
674 23 Food Egypt
180 13 Medical equipment & medicine supply, 5 ambulances, food Turkey
10,042 435 Total International community
9,941 371 Medical equipment & medicine supply and food Private sector
19,983 806 Total
(International community & Private sector)


© 2000 - 2021 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

You may also like