|PCHR in the Irish Times
EAST: While president Mahmoud Abbas and prime minister
Ismail Haniyeh carried on negotiations with the aim of forming a
national unity government yesterday, Hamas made it clear that
the Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian fighters 10 days ago
would not be killed.
after the deadline for a deal involving an exchange or prisoners
had expired, Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil stated: "We want to
keep the soldier alive and well."
the wreckage of the building at the Islamic University
demolished by an Israeli missile attack early in the morning, Dr
Bardawil asserted: "Israel must deal with the reality that there
is resistance to its continuing occupation of Palestinian land.
On one hand, we don't want to kill any [ Israeli] soldier or
capture any soldier. On the other hand, we embody the Islamic
resistance to occupation.
"We ask all
peoples and governments to help us to put pressure on Israel to
release our prisoners. Israel must free Palestinian prisoners if
the soldier is to be released."
who heads the Hamas parliamentary faction in Gaza, made this
appeal after the three factions holding the Israeli soldier
declared that they had withdrawn from Egyptian-brokered
university building, a small office used by the student council,
was targeted by a missile which reduced it to rubble and shards
of glass without breaking even one window in the dining hall,
the central library and other buildings on the quadrangle.
made by an Apache helicopter, was intended as a warning to Hamas
rather than a punitive operation against Palestinian cultural
infrastructure. The Islamic University is the pride and joy of
Hamas, which understands the importance of providing education
for ambitious young Palestinians.
Two of the
three factions holding the soldier are connected with the
movement: the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas military wing,
and the Jaish al-Islami (Army of Islam), a mysterious offshoot
which emerged recently in the Khan Yunis area. Since Hamas
provides training and equipment for both, it is expected that
the factions will respect the wishes of its political leaders.
Sourani, a lawyer who heads the Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights, put forward the legal argument that the Israeli soldier
was captured during "a military operation, at a military base,
by men in full military uniform".
operations are not only a right, but also an obligation for any
people who want to be free of occupation and secure self-
determination," he said.
steady crump of artillery shells sounded in the fields on the
edge of Gaza City, he said he was not concerned about the
soldier but civilians who could be harmed by ongoing Israeli
the outside world cares about those protected by the Fourth
Geneva Convention, which deals with people living under foreign
occupation. We must separate between the soldier affair and what
is going on in Gaza. Israel is using the pretext of the soldier
to destroy Hamas. Definitely, what Israel is doing is
endangering his life."
Palestinian casualty toll for this crisis by yesterday afternoon
stood at five activists assassinated, two fighters and one armed
civilian killed, and 40 wounded, including 15 children.
Nordahl, spokesman of the UN Relief and Works Agency said it is
now "distributing food to 900,000 people in Gaza, but it is out
of milk powder and beans and in 10 days there will be no food at
all. Eight thousand tons of supplies are stuck in Israel's
Ashdod port. If food cannot get through there could be a
Palestinians, including Mr Sourani, who served time in an
Israeli prison during the first intifada (1987-93), make the
comparison between the current situation in Gaza and Israel's
siege of Beirut during the summer of 1982. Under the command of
Mr Olmert's predecessor, Ariel Sharon, the Israel army invaded
and occupied the southern half of Lebanon and West Beirut where
the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was based. For
over six weeks, Israel bombarded the open city from the air,
sea, and land and cut electricity, water and food supplies.
agreed to evacuate Beirut in exchange for guarantees for the
safety of Palestinian civilians left behind. Yasser Arafat and
his entourage moved to distant Tunis, but Palestinians make the
point, that Hamas is not an organisation based abroad. Hamas is
at home in Gaza and cannot be sent into exile.
© The Irish Times