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CEASEFIRE WITH CONDITION

GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas told Egypt it would agree to a year-long renewable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip if Israel pulls out its forces within a week and reopens border crossings immediately, Hamas and diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

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Anggota Parlimen sepakat sokong usul kecam Israel

12/01/2009 9:35pm

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KUALA LUMPUR 12 Jan. — Anggota Parlimen Barisan Nasional (BN) dan pembangkang hari ini mengetepikan agenda politik masing-masing bagi menyokong usul mengecam serangan Israel terhadap rakyat Palestin di Gaza.

Ketika membahas usul tergempar mengecam pencerobohan dan serangan Israel terhadap Palestin di Dewan Rakyat, Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim mencadangkan supaya kerajaan bertindak lebih tegas menangani isu itu dengan meminta Kementerian Luar memanggil Duta Amerika Syarikat (AS) untuk menyatakan bantahan keras rakyat Malaysia terhadap sokongan negara tersebut kepada tindakan Israel.

“Harapan Malaysia terhadap bakal presiden Amerika Syarikat Barack Obama ialah mengambil sikap yang adil kepada penduduk Palestin kerana jelas pendirian Obama terlalu keras menyokong Israel. “Seluruh rakyat Malaysia termasuk daripada semua parti di negara ini menunjukkan rasa tidak senang hati dengan pentadbiran yang memihak kepada penjenayah perang dan melihat kelesuan pemimpin negara Arab yang nampak tidak menunjukkan sikap keberanian untuk memperjuangkan nasib rakyat,” katanya semasa membahaskan usul mengecam serangan Rejim Zionis Israel di Gaza di Persidangan Dewan Rakyat di sini hari ini.

Anwar juga mencadangkan agar Malaysia mengambil inisiatif supaya bekerjasama dengan Brunei dan Indonesia mengetuai pasukan yang menunjukkan sikap dan pendirian yang membenci keganasan dan kezaliman.

“Kita boleh berunding dengan Brunei dan Indonesia untuk menunjukkan sikap tegas dan berani menentang kezaliman rejim Israel terhadap rakyat Palestin yang dibunuh kejam,” kata Anwar, yang juga penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dan aggota Parlimen Permatang Pauh.

Bagaimanapun dalam perbahasan itu Anwar tidak mengkritik tindak tanduk AS atau keupayaan negara berkenaan untuk menyelesaikan masalah itu.

Sementara itu, Presiden PAS Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS-Marang) mencadangkan agar Malaysia mengambil tindakan mengheret Israel ke mahkamah antarabangsa kerana mencabuli undang-undang antarabangsa.

“Ini kerana Israel telah mencabuli piagam Pertubuhan Bangsa Bersatu (PBB) dan telah menunjukkan yang ia tidak berdisiplin,” katanya.

Timbalan Setiausaha Agung DAP P. Ramasamy, yang juga anggota Parlimen Batu Kawan, berkata Israel boleh dilabel sebagai sebuah negara pengganas kerana membuat tindakan unilateral menyerang Palestin.

“Israel kini mencari jalan baru untuk mendominasikan Palestin dengan menyerang. Mereka ingin mengekalkan dominasi mereka terhadap Palestin.

“Oleh itu, kita kena adakan perbincangan dengan Kesatuan Eropah, Rusia dan semua kuasa besar untuk mencari jalan penyelesaian masalah ini,” katanya.

Beliau berkata PBB gagal mencari penyelesaian untuk masalah itu dan kini masanya telah tiba bagi semua negara bersuara mengenai permasalahan ini dan kita mesti meyokong kerajaan kita untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini.”

Naib Ketua Pemuda Umno Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) pula meyifatkan masalah di Palestin sebagai masalah sejagat yang hanya boleh diselesaikan oleh masyarakat antarabangsa.

“Dunia menjadi saksi apa yang berlaku di Palestin. Semua mesti menyokong mencari jalan penyelesaian masalah ini. Langkah pertama ialah gencatan senjata oleh kedua-dua pihak,” katanya.

Beliau juga meminta masyarakat dunia untuk menambah tekanan terhadap Israel termasuk sekatan ekonomi.

Khairy turut mencadangkan agar satu pasukan pengaman dibentuk supaya rakyat Palestin tidak diancam atau dipaksa oleh rejim Zionis Israel.

“Sistem antarabangsa kini berat sebelah, menyebelahi sesebuah pihak. Sistem politik antarabangsa yang diamalkan sekarang tidak mendengar suara masyarakat dunia.

“Kita juga perlu menyusun semula PBB dan struktur baru itu perlulah menjaga kepentingan semua, tidak kira, bangsa dan agama,” katanya.

Sementara itu Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Bebas-Pasir Mas) pula mencadangkan kakitangan kerajaan dipotong gaji sehari dan duit itu disalurkan kepada tabung Palestin.

“Biarlah derma ini disalurkan dengan betul agar ia sampai ke tangan rakyat Palestin. Lebih baik jika dihantar dalam bentuk pakaian, makanan atau peralatan bukan dalam bentuk wang ringgit,” katanya.

 BERNAMA

 

 

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Israeli reservists enter war

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ASHKELON, Israel – Thousands of Israeli reservists began moving into the Gaza Strip on Monday, signaling that Israel may be ready to escalate its campaign and enter a new and more punishing phase of its 2-week-old war against Palestinian militants.

The military announced earlier that it had begun sending reserve units into Gaza to assist thousands of ground forces already in the Hamas-ruled territory. The deployment of the soldiers, many in their late twenties and thirties, was the strongest sign so far that Israel was prepared to intensify its war against Hamas.

The army has called up thousands of reserves troops for its Gaza campaign, meant to halt eight years of rocket fire on southern Israel.

“Israel is a small country and (in) all of our battles and all the wars we’ve had in the past reserve soldiers are called up,” Capt. Doron Spilmann, a spokesman for the Israeli military, told Associated Press Television News. “It’s standard that they then begin to work hand in hand along with our permanent standing force in the air, on the ground and at sea.”

Defense officials say about 5,000 reservists entered Gaza and thousands of others have been drafted.

Reservists in Gaza have been taking over areas cleared out by the regular troops, allowing those forces to push forward toward new targets, defense officials said on condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified operational strategy.

Israeli President Shimon Peres met with hundreds of reservists at a staging area in southern Israel as they prepared to enter Gaza.

“I don’t think that Israel has ever had an army better trained, organized and sophisticated than you,” he said. “I came in the name of the nation to say to you a deep thank you for your achievements so far and to wish you luck during battle.”

The group he met with were a mixed bunch, some apparently in their early 30s, at least one with a gray ponytail and beard. They were wearing crisp olive battledress, obviously freshly issued, and had M-16 assault rifles slung across their shoulders.

Asked if they knew what they were getting into and the possible price some might have to pay, one soldier one said he lost a good friend in combat during his compulsory military service 18 years ago and named his son after him.

“I know exactly what the price may be. I left three children at home, one a month-old baby girl, and I came here fully motivated to do whatever needs to be done, with full knowledge of the cost,” he said. The reservist was not identified in line with military guidelines.

Reservists interviewed said they were concerned over the rate of Palestinian civilian casualties. About half of the roughly 910 Palestinians killed since Israel launched its offensive on Dec. 27 are thought to be civilians.

A soldier who identified himself only as being from the town of Sderot, the militants’ favorite target, said the Gazans were his neighbors.

“We’ve been living with them for a long time and in my opinion 80 percent of the residents there don’t want these things,” he said. “The problem is the 20 percent in Hamas who control them.”

 

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Humanitarian desperation in Gaza

“The only talk must be of ceasefires and peace, and the safety and rights of ordinary people must be the urgent top priority.”

By Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International

Two days ago an Oxfam employee living in Gaza risked a desperate drive from his house to find some fresh food for his four young children. There is no fruit or meat and little milk in Gaza now, but he found a few expensive vegetables. And then, because of ongoing bombing and bullet fire, he had to drive around and around the streets near his house, because a parked car is a sitting target until, in the briefest of lulls, he could dash into his home to his terrified family.

Oxfam has had to suspend much of its work within Gaza including one of its largest programs – assisting 65,000 people – for security reasons, though a number of Oxfam partners continue to carry out essential work against impossible odds. UN food aid, relied on by 80% of the Gazan population of 1.5 million, has been severely disrupted for the last week because of the bombing.

Gaza’s civilian population has already borne the brunt of an increasingly severe blockade for the last 18 months, impeding access to a wide range of goods and supplies and making it hard for people to move freely in and out of Gaza. It has been a form of collective punishment illegal under international humanitarian law yet tolerated by the international community.

Now with the ground incursion on the back of a week-long bombing campaign a critical humanitarian situation has become a desperate one. One local Oxfam staff member in Gaza describes power blackouts, people trapped in their homes by the violence – cold, with windows open so they are not blown in by bombs, children screaming in the night.

Lack of fuel is one of the major problems, shutting the Gaza power plant and leaving many people without power for most of the day. Bombing has also damaged power lines and energy-generating infrastructure. Without fuel and power, pumps for wells and water sanitation will increasingly go out of action. Hospitals overwhelmed by casualties are desperately working with back-up generators – if they crash (through overuse or when fuel stocks finally end), desperation will become devastation.

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It is way past time for both Israel and Hamas to renounce violence and to respect the rights of ordinary people. The vulnerable civilians of Gaza, including thousands of children, urgently need an immediate and permanent ceasefire strictly implemented by both sides.

EU and other politicians talk of possible ‘humanitarian pauses’- to a clear negative response so far from the Israeli side. Any pause in hostilities must be welcome; its rejection is gravely disappointing. But a brief cessation of hostilities on its own cannot relieve the increasingly critical situation for ordinary people in Gaza.

They are mostly dependent on regular food aid and are reeling from a week of bombing. They cannot be supplied adequately with cooking fuel or food stocks in a ‘pause’ from attacks of a day or two. Nor can overwhelmed hospitals create more bed space, or give proper treatment to the injured, in the before more dead and injured arrive at their doors. Nor can children go back to school for two days only to then cower frightened at home, nor can the serious work begin of tackling the psychological damage that many civilians suffer in war.

A ceasefire must be combined with a lifting of the blockade so Gazan civilians have access to a wide range of supplies, not just the restricted food, medicines and basic goods that were being allowed through before the bombing started. Humanitarian workers need to be able to work freely in the Gaza Strip without risking their own lives.

Much greater pressure needs to be put on both Israel and Hamas. International players, especially the UN, but also the EU, League of Arab States and others should be engaged in rapid and urgent shuttle diplomacy in the region, engaging intensively to get both to a short run ceasefire and to serious longer term peace talks.

We need an immediate UN security council resolution condemning both the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli government and indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas. It should demand an immediate, comprehensive and permanent truce and an end to the blockade, allowing access for humanitarian and commercial goods, and for people too.

There must be no business as usual in international politics in the Middle East until Gazans have a chance to eat, drink and move around with some degree of normalcy, not cower in their homes wondering if and how they will survive. The only talk must be of ceasefires and peace, and the safety and rights of ordinary people must be the urgent top priority.

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Bush & family mourn when US First Cat ‘India’ dies. He spoke nothing on the killing of Palestinians

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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Bush family‘s 18-year-old cat, India, has died at the White House, First Lady Laura Bush‘s office announced Monday.

“The president, Mrs. Bush, Barbara, and Jenna are deeply saddened by the passing of their cat India (“Willie”),” press secretary Sally McDonough said in a statement.

“India was a beloved member of the Bush family for almost two decades. She will be greatly missed,” she said.

The black American Shorthair, which lived with President George W. Bush and his wife at the White House, died Sunday.

India was named by Barbara Bush after a former Texas Ranger baseball player, Ruben Sierra, who was called “El Indio,” but the cat was called “Willie” or “Kitty” by the family.

 

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Kempen “Sertai Skim Bantuan Gaza” – Aman Palestin

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Bandar Baru Bangi – Prihatin dengan peristiwa yang sedang berlaku di dalam Palestin terutamanya tragedi yang sedang menimpa Semenanjung Gaza dan kesinambungan terhadap kempen-kempen yang dilancarkan ke atas Gaza, Aman Palestin dengan ini melancarkan kempen baru dengan nama Kempen “Sertai Skim Bantuan Gaza”.

Aman Palestin memohon kepada Allah swt yang Maha Berkuasa supaya usaha ini akan diberkati dan dilipatgandakan dan ramai pihak akan turut serta menghulurkan tangan memberikan bantuan kepada rakyat Palestin yang dikepung tetapi masih tetap bertahan dan bersabar.

Aman Palestin menyeru semua institusi, organisasi, badan-badan kebajikan, syarikat-syarikat dan individu yang demawan agar membantu rakyat Palestin. Kempen ini ingin mengumandangkan bahawa:-

– Gaza masih lagi merintih dan merayu di bawah himpitan kepungan.. segala rumah dan penempatan telah dimusnahkan, anak-anak dan wanita menjadi pelarian.. keperluan hospital semakin mendesak dan bertindih-tindih… tenaga eletrik diputuskan… kadar pengangguran semakin meningkat secara drastik.. keperluan makanan semakin berkurangan, sukar untuk didapati dan harganya melambung tinggi.

– Ubat-ubatan telah pun kehabisan, sumber-sumber tenaga diberhentikan… kehidupan terbantut… pesakit-pesakit yang cedera dan sakit sudah dijemput kematian… kanak-kanak menderita kelaparan …. Gaza masih lagi MERINTIH dan MERAYU…

Dengan ini Aman Palestin melancarkan kempen “Sertai Skim Bantuan Gaza” untuk keluarga Palestin yang berada dalam kepungan. Skim ini meliputi bantuan segera untuk keperluan asasi (makanan, kesihatan dan keperluan-keperluan hidup yang wajib). Skim ini menawarkan kupon RM 250 seorang. Kempen ini mensasarkan 20 ribu keluarga yang hidup di bawah paras kemiskinan.

Buat masa ini Aman Palestin sedang berusaha untuk menghantar konvoi bantuan ke Palestin. Ayuh !!! segarakan bantuan, sertailah skim ini. Skim yang akan memberikan saham keuntungan kepada kita di akhirat nanti.

Hulurkan sumbangan Anda ke akaun .

Dana dan Sumbangan : BIMB 12029010047880 , MayBank 562263010787 

Dana Pengurusan : Muamalat 12070005133717

Pastikan sumbangan ANDA disalur kepada agensi yang mempunyai kapasiti dan kemampun untuk menyampaikan bantuan tersebut terus kepada umat Islam Palestin.

SHAHRUL PESHAWAR

 

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Slow progress in restoring power to Northeast

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BOSTON – Utility crews worked around the clock to restore electricity Monday to more than 400,000 homes and businesses in six states still without power three days after the region’s devastating ice storm.

Many public schools, including those in Worcester — the state’s second largest city — were closed with local emergency declarations still in effect in dozens of communities.

James Mannion, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said conditions in some of those areas made it too dangerous to hold school.

“Roads aren’t safe to drive on and there might be power lines down. It isn’t safe for kids to get around,” Mannion said early Monday.

Power companies in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and upstate New York reported Sunday and early Monday a total of 423,200 customers were still without power. Crews from Canada and as far away as Virginia and Michigan were assisting in restoring power lines.

While some took refuge in shelters, others have been checking in to hotels and motels, including the Howard Johnson Inn in Hadley.

“Half of our rooms have been taken by families coming with their kids and even some dogs,” Rick Kim, guest services agent for the hotel, told The Republican newspaper of Springfield.

President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in New Hampshire and in nine of Massachusetts’ 14 counties, directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide relief assistance.

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Maine declared either limited or full states of emergency Friday. Crews across the region reported the ice had destroyed utility poles, wires and other equipment, but said the extent of damage was unclear because some roads still were impassable.

As of 4 a.m., Mannion said there were approximately 118,500 electric customers in Massachusetts without power, down from a peak of 350,000 in the immediate aftermath of the storm on Friday.

New Hampshire, the hardest-hit state, was down to about 168,000 customers without power Monday morning, compared to a peak of 430,000 on Friday, utilities reported. There was also 94,400 without power in New York; 35,000 in Maine; 6,195 in Vermont and 1,104 in Connecticut.

Access to downed power lines and poles remains the biggest obstacle for workers. While the major roads are cleared, many secondary roads in rural areas remain blocked by fallen trees and tree limbs.

The potential for high winds and rain over the next 24 to 36 hours is likely to affect efforts to restore power and may also create additional outages in Massachusetts, National Grid said in a statement.

Mannion said an estimated 2,200 residents without heat or electricity spent the night at 62 emergency shelters around Massachusetts.

In Kennebunk, Maine, Holmes Tree Farm closed on Friday but reopened Saturday. Diane Holmes said people were getting antsy in their homes and needed fresh air. They also needed to return to their holiday traditions. By Sunday, several hundred trees had been sold.

Holmes said the ice-laden balsam firs sparkled in the sunlight, but the ice made them heavy. “I’m telling people, bring a lot of muscle,” she said.

In Vermont, Green Mountain Power President Mary Powell was touring affected areas and helping distribute lunches to the line crews. She said the damage caused by the storm rivaled or even exceeded the 1998 ice storm that hit northern Vermont.

“Whenever you get this kind of ice accumulation, there’s just nothing from a utility perspective you can do to protect your customers from devastating damage,” Powell said.

Emergency management officials reported four storm-related deaths. A Danville man died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the generator he was using after his power went out Thursday night. Carbon monoxide from a gasoline-powered generator killed a couple in their 60s at Glenville, N.Y., police said Saturday.

The body of a Marlborough, Mass., public works supervisor was recovered from a reservoir Saturday, a day after he went missing while checking on tree limbs downed by the ice.

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