Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Defense Min. to look into cutting Gaza off from electricity in response to rockets


I guess it is begging the question to wonder why we were EVER providing these services to Gaza in the first place . . .

Has anyone noticed that, when there was no fuel from the EU, we had no missles, but now that they have fuel, the missles are flying? What happened to the EU's requirement that the fuel not be used for missles? How come we hear nothing of this now?

Last update - 20:51 04/09/2007
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Staff and News Agencies

Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the defense establishment Tuesday to examine the implications of temporarily cutting the Gaza Strip off from electricity, in response to the ongoing Qassam rocket fire at southern Israel.

The defense minister ordered an examination of "the operational and legal aspects of steps designed to limit Hamas' rule in the Gaza Strip."

The call to cut off water, electricity, gas and fuel to the Strip is seen as an alternative - or, if unsuccessful, a prelude - to a broad IDF incursion into northern Gaza and perhaps the Philadelphi Route in the south.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is to convene his security cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the continuing Qassam shelling of Sderot and other western Negev communities.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Qassam rocket struck an open area in the western Negev, causing no damage or injuries.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for launching seven rockets at the western Negev on Monday, one of which struck near a day care center in the southern town of Sderot. There were no injuries, but 12 children were treated for shock.

Following the attack, the Sderot Parents Committee decided to keep children home from all of the city's schools until further notice.

According to Barak's office, the defense minister also decided to extend an order issued by his predecessor Amir Peretz, declaring a "special situation" along the border with Gaza. Barak decided the time is not yet ripe to revoke the order, which will be in effect for the coming 48 hours and gives the Israel Defense Forces wide authority to run civilian affairs based on security concerns.

After 48 hours, a longer extension of the order will be brought to the government for approval, before eventually being brought to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as well as the Knesset plenum for approval.

In addition to granting the IDF the power to issue instructions to the education and health system as well as other essential services, the order also allows for special compensation to be paid to victims of Qassam fire.

The order entitles the security establishment to issue any order necessary for protecting lives and property.

In addition, Barak also instructed his deputy Matan Vilnai and Defense Minister Director General Pinchas Buchris to accelerate production of reinforcement methods in order to better protect buildings in near the Gaza Strip from rocket fire.

Earier Tuesday, Vice Premier Haim Ramon, one of a growing number of cabinet ministers in favor of cutting off utilities to Gaza in response to Qassam fire, said that Israel should put a "price tag" on every rocket launched at Israel.

"We will set a price tag for every Qassam, in terms of cutting off infrastructures," Ramon said in remarks broadcast on Army Radio. "The Hamas will determine that price tag. It will know this in advance."

"We will not continue to supply 'oxygen' in the form of electricity, fuel, and water while they are trying to murder our kids. The capability to do that stems from the fact that we are not in Gaza."

Meanwhile Tuesday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned the recent wave of Palestinian rocket attacks, saying the barrages are threatening the peace process.

"We condemn the launching of rockets from Gaza because these actions harm peace and the peace process," Abbas said at a news conference.

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