Israel rejects EU’s appeal for temporary ceasefire

January 6th, 2009 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Jan 6 (Xinhua) Israel Tuesday rejected a European Union (EU) request for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, vowing to push ahead the offensive till security is restored to the south. Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Tuesday told visiting EU foreign ministers that any ceasefire agreement must force Hamas to end its incessant rocket attacks on Israel.

The local media quoted him as saying that “we demand action that will bring security to the residents of Israel’s south”.

Referring to the increasing range of the rockets fired by Gazan militants, Olmert stressed: “The most important thing from our standpoint is to stop the smuggling and the strengthening of Hamas.”

Meanwhile, the premier called on the delegation, led by the Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, to support a US-led regional initiative that would see Egypt take control over the Philadelphi Corridor, a 14-km frontier with the strip and prevent arms-smuggling into Gaza.

Earlier, the EU delegation Monday met Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who also turned down their call for an immediate ceasefire, saying that Israel has to “change the equation” in which “Hamas fires at Israel and Israel responds with restraint”.

From now on, “when Israel is being targeted, Israel is going to retaliate”, Livni said.

Late Tuesday, Olmert told visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy that the Israeli operation is not aimed at eliminating Hamas, but to bring security to its southern land.

Analysts have said Israel’s ultimate goal is to reach a lasting ceasefire on more favourable conditions.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |