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» 01/19/2009
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Gaza: truce for a week. Israel begins gradual withdrawal of troops
In the wake of Israel’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad groups announce a truce. From the European Leaders summit in Egypt promises of funds for reconstruction and security forces.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The gradual withdrawal of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) from Gaza continues on the second day of the unilateral truce first declared by Israel and then by Hamas and Palestinian groups of the Islamic Jihad present in the Strip.  For the people in the region, Sunday night was the second night of relative calm since the outbreak of violence on December 27th that has cost the lives of over 1300 people.

The international community is now getting to grips with making the ceasefire last.  Leaders from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain met at a summit Sunday in Sharm el Sheikh organised by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.  UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, Czech premier Mirek Topolanek, who currently holds the EU presidency and a representative of the Arab League also took part, as well as the leader of the Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen, who was not originally slated to attend.

Mubarak announced a new international summit to take place soon with the aim of coordinating reconstruction in Gaza and the setting out of a lasting peace plan.  French President Sarkozy reiterated the need for the creation of two states, while in the interim all leaders agreed to make troops available to send to the Strip as security forces and to set aside funds for pressing humanitarian aid.

Tel Aviv says it will have fully withdrawn its troops within a few days.  After a late night meeting with leaders from France, Britain, Germany and Italy, Ehud Olmert declared: “It is not our intention to take control of Gaza or remain there and we want to leave it as soon as possible”.

According to Israeli plans once troop withdrawal is complete, the army will be stationed along its borders with Gaza.  The IDF are meanwhile, drawing up a “price list” that will set out their future military response to militant attacks from Gaza during the ceasefire.

In a televised statement shortly after Olmert's declaration in the wake of his meeting with European Leaders, Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, the IDF withdrawal was “a great victory, not for one faction, or party, or area, but for our entire people.  We have stopped the aggression and the enemy has failed to achieve any of its goals”.

 


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See also
12/16/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
Uncertainty over ceasefire between Hamas and Israel
by Joshua Lapide
06/18/2008 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Israel accepts Gaza ceasefire with Hamas
02/02/2009 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
Internally divided, Hamas accepts truce with Israel
by Paul Dakiki
12/19/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
Hamas declares an end to ceasefire with Israel
by Joshua Lapide
01/17/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Gaza: Israel voting on ceasefire, while deaths continue

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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