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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Press releases from Israel and US concerning Gaza

From Israel:
Prime Minister's Office - Statement

Following the Israeli Security Cabinet Meeting (June 20th 2010)

Israel’s policy is to protect its citizens against terror, rocket and other attacks from Gaza. In seeking to keep weapons and war materiel out of Gaza while liberalizing the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza, the Government of Israel has decided to implement the following steps as quickly as possible:

1. Publish a list of items not permitted into Gaza that is limited to weapons and war materiel, including problematic dual-use items. All items not on this list will be permitted to enter Gaza.


2. Enable and expand the inflow of dual-use construction materials for approved PA-authorized projects (schools, health facilities, water, sanitation, etc.) that are under international supervision and for housing projects such as the U.N. housing development being completed at Khan Yunis. Israel intends to accelerate the approval of such projects in accordance with accepted mechanisms and procedures.


3. Expand operations at the existing operating land crossings, thereby enabling the processing of a significantly greater volume of goods through the crossings and the expansion of economic activity.


4. Add substantial capacity at the existing operating land crossings and, as more processing capacity becomes necessary and when security concerns are fully addressed, open additional land crossings.



5. Streamline the policy of permitting the entry and exit of people for humanitarian and medical reasons and that of employees of international aid organizations that are recognized by the GOI. As conditions improve, Israel will consider additional ways to facilitate the movement of people to and from Gaza.

6. Israel will continue to facilitate the expeditious inspection and delivery of goods bound for Gaza through the port of Ashdod.

Israel welcomes cooperation and coordination with its international and regional partners in implementing this policy and will continue to discuss with them additional ways to advance this policy.

The current security regime for Gaza will be maintained. Israel reiterates that along with the U.S., EU and others, it considers Hamas a terrorist organization. The international community must insist on a strict adherence to the Quartet principles regarding Hamas.

Hamas took over Gaza and turned it into a hostile territory from which Hamas prepares and carries out attacks against Israel and its citizens. The Israel Defense Forces will continue to prevent the flow into and out of Gaza of terrorist operatives, weapons, war material and dual use items which enhance the military capability of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. Israel calls on the international community to stop the smuggling of weapons and war materials into Gaza.

Gilad Shalit is approaching four years in captivity. The international community should join Israel in strongly condemning those who hold him captive and in redoubling their efforts to secure his immediate release.
From the White House:
THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 20, 2010



Statement by the Press Secretary on Israel’s announcement on Gaza


The President has described the situation in Gaza as unsustainable and has made clear that it demands fundamental change. On June 9, he announced that the United States was moving forward with $400 million in initiatives and commitments for the West Bank and Gaza. The President described these projects as a down payment on the U.S. commitment to the people of Gaza, who deserve a chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank. These announcements resulted from consultations with the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.


Today, the United States welcomes the new policy towards Gaza announced by the Government of Israel, which responds to the calls of many in the international community. Once implemented, we believe these arrangements should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, while preventing the entry of weapons. We will work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the Quartet, and other international partners to ensure these arrangements are implemented as quickly and effectively as possible and to explore additional ways to improve the situation in Gaza, including greater freedom of movement and commerce between Gaza and the West Bank. There is more to be done, and the President looks forward to discussing this new policy, and additional steps, with Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Washington on July 6.


We strongly re-affirm Israel’s right to self-defense, and our commitment to work with Israel and our international partners to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza. As we approach the fourth anniversary of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, we call again for his immediate release, and condemn the inhumane conditions of his detention.


We believe that the implementation of the policy announced by the Government of Israel today should improve life for the people of Gaza, and we will continue to support that effort going forward. We urge all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. There is no need for unnecessary confrontations, and we call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza.