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Volume 14, Number 24
December 28, 2008

opinion on breaking events

Also in this section:
Editorials, Another Colombian incursion, and The Panama News's 14th birthday
Jackson, Who speaks for Panama's American community?
Morales, Save the planet from capitalism
Scholars' open letter to Human Rights Watch on its Venezuela report
Human Rights Watch, More repression in Cuba
Reporters Without Borders, Whitewash in Mexican journalists' murder cases
Sanchez and Moretti, UNASUR starts off with a debilitating row
Committee to Protect Journalists, Release journalists jailed for defamation in Ecuador
Association of Caribbean States, The ACS at the Cuba-CARICOM summit
Pilgrim, Caribbean Christmas
Caribbean scientists on climate change
Avnery, Spot the difference
Madinger, A most unpleasant rock
Leis, Nele Guani
Bernal, Forgetting prohibited
Sirias, The Virgin Mary and Nicaragua's divisions
Letters to the editor

What they're saying about the war in and around Gaza

No country would allow continuous rocketing of its civilian population without taking the necessary actions to stop it. Israel expects the understanding and support of the international community for its actions.
Israeli UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev

We in the Hamas group and other resistance factions in Gaza know that we don't have many alternatives. We have one alternative which is to be steadfast and resist and then we will be victorious.
Hamas representative Osama Hamdan

There is no military solution in Gaza.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy

In the context of total aerial supremacy, in which one side in a conflict deploys lethal aircraft against opponents with no means of defending themselves, the bombardment bears all the hallmarks of war crimes.
Desmond Tutu

We spoke to [Hamas] and told them "Please, we ask you not to end the cease-fire. Let it continue."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

The current Israeli strikes are inflicting an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians and will only worsen the humanitarian crisis as well as complicate the search for a peaceful solution.
European Union High Representative Javier Solana

Violence will only lead to aggravating the situation and will not deliver security to Israel.
Jordan's King Abdullah

First and foremost, those rocket attacks must stop.
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon

It is very hypocritical of the Canadian government to criticize the attacks on Israel but completely ignore the massacre of innocent Palestinians.
Imam Syed Soharwardy, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada

It's not relevant now who's right: clearly this war is a result of intolerance, but the reciprocal hostilities are not the solution. To the contrary.
La Prensa (Panama) Hoy por hoy editorial

Cuba expresses its most energetic condemnation of this genocidal act by Israel.
Statement of the Cuban government

I implore an end to that violence, which must be condemned in all its manifestations, and the restoration of the truce in the Gaza Strip.
Pope Benedict XVI

It is not only between Israel and Palestine. The incident can cause an instability in the region.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul

Hamas looks like the common enemy of Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Al Masry Al Yom (Egypt) columnist Hassan Nafaa

The members of the council called for all parties to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to take necessary measures including opening all border crossings to ensure the continuous provision of humanitarian supplies, including the supplies of food, fuel and provision of medical treatment.
UN Security Council statement

We believe the way forward from here is for rocket attacks against Israel to stop, for all violence to end, because the continuation of rocket attacks against Israel, clearly in that context, Israel has the right to self defense and nothing in this press statement should be read as anything but that.
US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad, about the Security Council statement

The war in Gaza, the bloodshed, killing, destruction and suffering on both sides of the border are the vicious folly of a bankrupt government. [The government] let itself be dragged by adventurous officers and cheap nationalist demagoguery... into a destructive and unnecessary war which will bring no solution to any problem --- neither to the communities of southern Israel under the rain of missiles nor to the terrible poverty and suffering of besieged Gaza.
Gush Shalom, Israeli peace movement

Today everybody has to stand by the side of the Palestinian people and stop this blind military action.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit

There is a time for calm and a time for fighting, and now the time has come to fight.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

All Palestinian combatants and all the Islamic world's pious people are obliged to defend the defenseless women, children and people in Gaza in any way possible. Whoever is killed in this legitimate defense is considered a martyr.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Clearly, we are calling on Hamas and other militants to cease shelling southern Israel. Obviously they have broken the ceasefire and engaged in an act of aggression against Israel. Israel has responded. We are echoing the calls from around the world for parties to move back to a ceasefire.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard

We are emphasizing the need to restore the truce, which will allow the security of the civilian population in southern Israel to be guaranteed.
Russian Minister of Foreign Relations Sergei Lavrov

What is happening in the Gaza Strip is an Israeli war crime and a genocide.
Statement by Lebanon's Hezbollah

Expect a world-wide condemnation of Israel to erupt in response to the Israeli Air Force attack today across Hamas-ruled Gaza. If that outrage is to be valid, however, it should place equal blame on Israel and the Hamas operatives who have been firing rockets into Israel. Not because those rockets inflicted major damage to Israel, or constituted a clear threat to the state --- they did not --- but because they offered the rationale for the Israeli attacks.
American syndicated columnist Doug Lasken

The attack was also disrespect for us.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The government of Chile reiterates its most absolute conviction that the military solution doesn't lead to the peace to which both Israelis and Palestinians have a right.
Statement by the Chilean government

The one who started all these operations is Hamas.
Spanish Minister of Foreign Relations and Cooperation Miguel Ángel Moratinos

The Israeli air strikes have demanded a disproportionate amount of civilian victims and they must end immediately. Simultaneously Hamas and other extremist groups must immediately cease their rocket attacks.
Statement by Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs

It remains the case that we who trust in the power of love and generosity, and hence in the message of Torah and the tradition of the Jewish people that "not by might, and not by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of power the Lord of hosts" are largely vilified by many of those who claim to be the current representatives of the Jewish tradition. And our response: stop being "realistic," because the realism of military force and power has not brought you peace --- so how about trying a different strategy, a strategy of love and generosity and caring for others, and start by applying that to the Palestinian people.
Rabbi Michael Lerner

Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” comes eight days after Israel’s ceasefire with Iran-backed Hamas formally ended Friday (December 19). During that time, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired more than 170 missiles, rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians, killing a 30-year-old resident of the southern Negev city of Netivot and wounding four.
The Israel Project

The Panama News opines...

First, as obnoxious as that movement may be, Hamas is the elected leadership of the Palestinian people and Israel and its backers must deal with it as such; just as the Palestinians and their backers must recognize and deal with the leaders whom the Israelis elect, international pariahs that they may be.

Second, the basic configuration of a peace settlement that must come to the Holy Land has been known to the whole world for many years now. It is a state of Israel living peacefully alongside a state of Palestine, each roughly within the political borders that existed before the June 1967 war. The only exceptions to the Green Line boundary should be that Jerusalem should remain undivided, be subject to a special international political status and be the capital of both Israel and Palestine; and that there should be a corridor across southern Israel that allows free travel between the West Bank and Gaza.

Third, indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations erase the distinction between warfare as understood by international law and terrorism as condemned by the great majority of humanity. The use by the Palestinian side of ballistic missiles that can't be aimed in any meaningful sense, and the abuse by the Israeli side of weapons that are capable of being used with great precision against military targets to hit civilian populations are both species of war crimes.

Fourth, the conditions that existed during the brief Israeli - Hamas ceasefire are untenable because on the one hand a blockade of the sort Israel maintained is itself an act of war, and on the other hand a truce in which one or both parties refuse to recognize the adversaries' right to exist does not end a war.

Fifth, this whole argument is a land dispute in which both sides have valid equitable and historical claims. Any nationalistic, religious, racial or cultural argument to assert a superior right for either side must be rejected as crass bigotry.

Eric Jackson
editor and publisher


Also in this section:
Editorials, Another Colombian incursion, and The Panama News's 14th birthday
Jackson, Who speaks for Panama's American community?
Morales, Save the planet from capitalism
Scholars' open letter to Human Rights Watch on its Venezuela report
Human Rights Watch, More repression in Cuba
Reporters Without Borders, Whitewash in Mexican journalists' murder cases
Sanchez and Moretti, UNASUR starts off with a debilitating row
Committee to Protect Journalists, Release journalists jailed for defamation in Ecuador
Association of Caribbean States, The ACS at the Cuba-CARICOM summit
Pilgrim, Caribbean Christmas
Caribbean scientists on climate change
Avnery, Spot the difference
Madinger, A most unpleasant rock
Leis, Nele Guani
Bernal, Forgetting prohibited
Sirias, The Virgin Mary and Nicaragua's divisions
Letters to the editor

 
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