Israel's security cabinet today declared Gaza an "enemy entity", paving the way for possible cuts in fuel and water to the Hamas-controlled territory.They can spin it all they like, but we know what's up, don't we?
The decision, described by Hamas as a "declaration of war", follows almost daily rocket attacks from Gaza at southern Israel.
So far, Israeli air strikes and limited incursions against the rocket launchers have failed to stop the rocket fire. Gaza is almost entirely dependent on Israel for vital supplies. "It is a declaration of war and continues the criminal, terrorist, Zionist actions against our people," a Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, said. The increase in tension between Israel and Hamas Islamists, who seized control of Gaza from their Fatah rivals in June, coincided with a visit to the region by the US secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice.
Speaking in Israel today, Ms Rice pledged that the US "will not abandon the innocent Palestinians in Gaza". But Ms Rice tempered her support for the Palestinian people by adding that Gaza "is a hostile entity to us as well".
Haaretz actually spun it less:
Hamas denounced as a "declaration of war" the Wednesday decision of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's security cabinet to declare Gaza a "hostile entity" and to approve curbs in electricity and fuel supplies to the population of the strip.I don't have any words for this. Do you?
"They aim to starve our people and force them to accept humiliating formulas that could emerge from the so-called November peace conference," said Hamas spokesman Barhoum, referring to a U.S.-sponsored meeting expected to be held in two months.
"It is a declaration of war and continues the criminal, terrorist Zionist actions against our people."
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel's plan, calling it an oppressive decision.
"This oppressive decision will only strengthen the chocking embargo imposed on 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, increase their suffering and deepen their tragedy," Abbas' office said in a statement.
"It is collective punishment against the people of Gaza, and discourages serious political discussion," said Ashraf Ajrami, a minister in Abbas' government.
"We are going to ask the Americans to pressure Israel to refrain from taking such action," added Palestinian Information Minister Riyad al-Malki.
In response to the cabinet's decision, Arab MK Taleb A-Sana (Ra'am Ta'al) said, "Israel is defining the occupied as a hostile entity in order to excuse itself from war crimes."
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi warned that cutting off the power supply would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.