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Signs of the Times for Mon, 10 Jul 2006

ArabicNews.com
7/8/2006
Some 300 prominent British Jews Friday condemned Israel for its brutal invasion of Gaza and urged the UK government to achieve an immediate ceasefire.

The Zionist regime is "using its enormously superior military might to terrorize an entire people," they said in a full-page petition published in the Times newspaper.

"Bombing power stations and cutting off fuel supplies deprives people of electricity, refrigeration, pumped drinking water and sewage disposal services. It holds hostage hospital patients on life support systems, or undergoing dialysis," the petition said.

The well-known British figures, describing themselves as Jews for Justice for Palestinians (Jfjfp), included playwright Harold Pinter, film director Mike Leigh, historian Professor Eric Hobsbawn, and actor Miriam Margoyles as well as a large number of academics.

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Reuters
Mon 10 Jul 2006
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday rejected European Union criticism of Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, saying the EU should focus instead on Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.

"When was the last time that the European Union condemned this shooting and suggested effective measures to stop it?" Olmert said in remarks to the foreign press.

"At some point, Israel had no point but to take some measures in order to stop this thing."

The European Union accused Israel on Friday of a disproportionate use of force against Palestinians in Gaza and of making a humanitarian crisis there worse.


Comment: And that is the point, a massively disproportionate use of force AND the fact that Israel's continued flaunting of international law means that, in the final analysis, it is ISRAEL that is the SOURCE of the conflict.

Scotsman
9/7/2006
Meanwhile, Olmert's refusal to budge on the issue of negotiating with Hamas was starting to raise questions among senior military ranks. Military sources said it was Israeli Defence Force (IDF) policy "to do anything to rescue a soldier" but efforts to pursue negotiations were being hamstrung by a prime minister's office determined to take a hard line.


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Conal Urquhart in Gaza City
Saturday July 8, 2006
The Guardian
An Israeli minister said Israel was prepared to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the freedom of an Israeli soldier held captive for almost two weeks. It was the first public admission that Israel was willing to contemplate a prisoner exchange to free Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was captured during a raid on Israeli positions near Gaza on June 25.

Avi Dichter, the minister of public security, told a conference yesterday: "The release of the soldier Gilad Shalit is a must ... Israel will need to, after some time, release prisoners as a reciprocal gesture. Israel knows how to do this. Israel has done this more than once in the past."

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By Corinne Heller
Reuters
Sun Jul 9, 2006
JERUSALEM - Israel vowed on Sunday to pursue air and ground assaults in the Gaza Strip indefinitely, rebuffing a proposed truce and keeping pressure on militants to free an abducted soldier and halt cross-border rocket attacks.

"This is a war that cannot be on a timetable," a senior government official quoted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as telling his cabinet, a day after Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas raised the prospect of a ceasefire.

"There is no intention to reoccupy Gaza in order to stay there, but if certain operations are needed they will be carried out. We will operate, enter and pull out as needed," Olmert was quoted to have said.

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