Daily Archives: April 16, 2009

Pejuang Palestina Tembakkan Roket ke Israel

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Yerusalem, 16/4 – Sebuah roket ditembakkan dari Jalur Gaza ke arah Israel, Rabu, serangan pertama dalam 11 hari ini, namun tidak ada kerusakan atau korban yang cedera, kata seorang jurubicara militer.

Roket itu mendarat di gurun di daerah Eshkol dekat wilayah tengah Jalur Gaza, katanya.

Lebih dari 200 roket dan mortir ditembakkan ke Israel dari daerah yang dikuasai Hamas itu sejak pertengahan Januari ketika Israel mengakhiri ofensif tiga pekan terhadap kelompok pejuang garis keras Palestina tersebut, menurut militer Israel.

Pasukan Israel biasanya membalas penembakan roket Palestina dengan serangan-serangan udara terhadap terowongan-terowongan penyelundup di perbatasan Gaza-Mesir.

Kelompok Hamas menguasai Jalur Gaza pada Juni 2007 setelah mengalahkan pasukan Fatah yang setia pada Presiden Palestina Mahmud Abbas dalam pertempuran mematikan selama beberapa hari dan sejak itu wilayah pesisir miskin tersebut dibloklade oleh Israel.

Kekerasan Israel-Hamas meletus lagi setelah gencatan senjata enam bulan yang ditengahi Mesir berakhir pada 19 Desember.

Israel membalas penembakan roket pejuang Palestina ke negara Yahudi tersebut dengan melancarkan gempuran udara besar-besaran sejak 27 Desember dan serangan darat ke Gaza dalam perang tidak sebanding yang mendapat kecaman dan kutukan dari berbagai penjuru dunia.

Jumlah korban tewas Palestina mencapai sedikitnya 1.400, termasuk lebih dari 400 anak, dan 5.300 orang cedera di Gaza sejak Israel meluncurkan ofensif terhadap Hamas pada 27 Desember. Di pihak Israel, hanya tiga warga sipil dan 10 prajurit tewas dalam pertempuran dan serangan roket.

Pasukan Israel meninggalkan Jalur Gaza setelah daerah pesisir itu hancur akibat ofensif 22 hari. Mereka menyelesaikan penarikan pasukan dari wilayah yang dikuasai Hamas itu pada 21 Januari.

Israel tolak kerja sama
Sementara itu, seorang pejabat Israel mengatakan, Rabu, negara Yahudi itu tidak berencana bekerja sama dengan penyelidikan badan PBB atas kejahatan perang yang dituduhkan pada pasukan Israel selama konflik itu.

Dewan Hak Asasi Manusia PBB bulan ini mengangkat mantan jaksa kejahatan perang PBB Richard Goldstone untuk memimpin penyelidikan atas tuduhan-tuduhan pelanggaran HAM yang dilakukan kedua pihak selama konflik pada 27 Desember hingga 18 Januari.

Menurut sebuah kelompok hak asasi Palstina, 1.417 orang Palestina, termasuk 926 warga sipil, tewas selama perang Israel-Hamas itu. Israel mempersoalkan angka tersebut.

Pejabat pemerintah Israel itu mengatakan, sepucuk surat telah dikirim ke Goldstone, seorang hakim Afrika Selatan, melalui Kedutaan Besar Israel di Jenewa yang isinya menjelaskan kepadanya dan dewan tersebut bahwa Israel yakin “tidak mungkin bekerja sama dengan komite itu” dalam penyelidikan mereka.

Hamas belum menyatakan mendukung atau menentang penyelidikan itu. Kelmpok HAM Human Rights Watch hari Rabu mendesak AS dan Uni Eropa menekan Isael dan Hamas agar bekerja sama dalam penyelidikan tersebut.

Tim empat orang Goldstone diperkirakan pergi ke kawasan itu dalam beberapa pekan ini dan akan menyerahkan laporan kepada Dewan HAM PBB pada Juli.

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Sejumlah Anggota Parlemen Inggris Bertemu Meshaal di Suriah

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Damaskus, 16/4 – Pemimpin politik Hamas Khaled Meshaal telah bertemu dengan sekelompok anggota parlemen Inggris yang sedang berkunjung di Damaskus untuk kedua kalinya dalam sebulan, gerakan Islamis itu mengatakan, Rabu.

Delegasi yang dipimpin oleh anggota parlemen dari partai Buruh Roger Godsiff itu mengadakan pembicaraan dengan Meshaal Selasa menyusul pertemuan yang sama dengan kelompok anggota parlemen Inggris dan Irlandia di ibukota Suriah tersebut bulan lalu.

Pada pertemuan Selasa, Meshaal menuduh masyarakat internasional gagal untuk berbuat sesuai dengan “kewajiban moral dan kemanusiaan” mereka dengan mengajukan syarat-syarat politik pada bantuan pembangunan kembali Jalur Gaza yang dipimpin-Hamas.

Hamas telah dicap sebagai kelompok teroris oleh Uni Eropa, Israel dan AS, yang memboikot kelompok itu karena penolakannya untuk memenuhi tuntutan agar meninggalkan kekerasan, mengakui Israel dan menghormati perjanjian damai pada masa lalu.

Meshaal — yang tinggal di pengasingan di Suriah — juga telah bertemu dengan sekelompok anggota parlemen Italia dan Yunani yang berkunjung bulan lalu.

Ia mengatakan pada para anggota parlemen yang berkunjung itu bahwa “campurtangan asing merusak rekonsiliasi nasional Palestina”, dengan merujuk pada pembicaraan antara Hamas dan saingannya kelompok Fatah pimpinan-presiden Palestina Mahmud Abbas.

Hamas dan Fatah telah mengadakan beberapa putara pembicaraan rekonsiliasi di Mesir yang ditujukan untuk membentuk pemerintah persatuan guna memudahkan pembicaraan damai dengan Israel, tapi pembicaraan itu ditanggguhkan awal bulan ini.

Pernyataan Hamas mengutip para anggota parlemen Inggris itu yang mengatakan bahwa perdamaian di kawasan tersebut tidak dapat dilakukan tanpa melancarkan pembicaraan dengan kelompok Islam itu.

Dengan penengahan Mesir, Hamas telah melakukan beberapa putaran pembicaraan tidak langsung dengan Israel mengenai pertukaran tawanan. Pembicaraan terakhir pada masa PM Israel Ehud Olmert itu gagal menukarkan ratusan tawanan Palestina dengan serdadu Israel Gilad Shalit yang ditangkap oleh gerilyawan dalam satu serangan lintas-perbatasan.

Sementara itu, Suriah juga telah mengadakan putaran pembicaraan tidak langsung dengan Israel. Pembicaraan yang diperantarai Turki itu ditangguhkan menyusul serangan Israel ke Gaza yang menewaskan sekitar 1.400 warga Palestina.

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First Rocket from Gaza in 11 Days Lands in Israel

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Jerusalem, April 16 – A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Wednesday, the first in 11 days, without hurting anyone or causing damage, an army spokeswoman said.

The rocket landed on wasteland in the Eshkol region adjacent to the central section of the Gaza enclave, she said.

More than 200 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired towards Israel from the Hamas-controlled territory since mid-January when Israel ended its three-week assault targeted at the Islamist movement, according to the army.

The onslaught left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead and 5,000 wounded, Palestian medical services say.

In response to the rockets since the conflict, Israel has launched several air raids against armed factions, hidden arms stores and smuggling tunnels along the border between Gaza and Egypt.

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Israel Will not Cooperate With UN Gaza Inquiry

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Jerusalem, April 16 – Israel does not plan to cooperate with a U.N. agency’s investigation into alleged war crimes by Israeli troops and Hamas militants during fighting in Gaza, an Israeli government official said on Wednesday.

Israeli forces launched a 22-day offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in late December with the stated goal of stopping cross-border rockets fired by Palestinian militants.

According to a Palestinian rights group, 1,417 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, were killed in the fighting. Israel disputes those figures.

The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed former U.N. war crimes prosector Richard Goldstone this month to head the investigation into allegations of human rights violations by both sides during the Dec. 27 to Jan. 18 conflict.

The Israeli government official said a letter was sent to Goldstone, a South African judge, through the Israeli embassy in Geneva informing him and the council that Israel believed it was “impossible to cooperate with the committee” in its inquiry.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on Jan. 12 condemning Israel’s military offensive and calling for its cessation was not supported by most democratic countries.

Hamas has not voiced opposition to Goldstone’s inquiry but has yet to say whether it will cooperate. Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged the United States and the European Union to pressure Israel and Hamas to go along with the investigation.

Goldstone’s four-member team is expected to travel to the region in a few weeks and will issue a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in July, the investigator said this month.

Human rights groups have criticised Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive and called for an investigation into possible war crimes.

In addition to looking at Israel’s conduct, Goldstone has said his inquiry would assess possible Palestinian violations of human rights. Militants fired hundreds of rockets into southern Israel during the fighting.

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Egypt Says Will not Deal With Israel’s Lieberman

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Jerusalem, April 16 – Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Cairo would not deal with ultranationalist Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Channel 2 television reported on Wednesday.

“We will work with any proposal by the Israeli government but not through the Israeli foreign minister,” Abul Gheit said in an interview with Russia Today television, excerpts of which were aired on Channel 2.

Lieberman stirred controversy last year when he said Hosni Mubarak could “go to hell” if the Egyptian president did not want to visit Israel. He once suggested Egypt’s Aswan Dam might be bombed.

“Of course he will not visit Cairo as long as his positions remain unchanged,” Abul Gheit said.

On his first day at the foreign ministry this month, Lieberman said the U.S.-sponsored Annapolis declaration of 2007 on peace with the Palestinians was no longer valid.

“A person has to think about the consequences of the signals he sends from his brain to his tongue during speech and there have been consequences for Egypt,” Abul Gheit said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-leaning government took office late last month, will meet Mubarak in Egypt in the near future, his office said last week.

It remains unclear what the two leaders would discuss when they meet in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and whether Lieberman would attend the meeting.

Under Ehud Olmert, Netanyahu’s predecessor, Egypt tried to broker a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip, where the Jewish state launched a punishing three-week offensive in December and January.

The indirect negotiations have shown little outward sign of progress. Israel wants Hamas to release an Israeli soldier captured by guerrillas in a cross-border raid in 2006.

Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit.

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British MPs Meet Hamas Supremo in Syria

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DAMASCUS, April 16, 2009 – Hamas political supremo Khaled Meshaal met a group of visiting British lawmakers in Damascus for the second time in a month, the Palestinian Islamist movement said on Wednesday.

The delegation headed by Labour MP Roger Godsiff held talks with Meshaal on Tuesday following a similar meeting with another group of British and Irish deputies in the Syrian capital last month.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Meshaal accused the international community of failing to live up to its “moral and humanitarian obligations” by putting political conditions on reconstruction aid for the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Hamas is branded a terrorist group by the European Union, Israel and the United States, which boycott it over its refusal to abide by demands it renounce violence, recognise Israel and honour past peace accords.

Meshaal — who lives in exile in Syria – also met a group of visiting Italian and Greek MPs last month.

He told the visiting MPs on Tuesday that “foreign intervention undermines national Palestinian reconciliation,” referring to the talks between Hamas and the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Hamas and Fatah have held several rounds of reconciliation talks in Egypt aimed at creating a unity government to facilitate peace negotiations with Israel but discussions were suspended earlier this month.

The Hamas statement quoted the British MPs as saying that peace in the region could not be accomplished without launching dialogue with the Islamist group.

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