Friday, January 7, 2011

Israel against another incursion in Gaza

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday against initiating "any new assault" on Gaza, state-run Nile TV reported.

The warning came as the two Middle East leaders met in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mubarak said Egypt would reject "any new assault on the people of Gaza," Nile TV said. Two years ago, an Israeli incursion into Gaza killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, accoding to Gaza officials.

The Israeli military said 1,166 people were killed in the 22 days of fighting, 60% of whom were "terror operatives."

Nile TV said the 82-year-old Egyptian leader emphasized to Netanyahu "the necessity for Israel to reconsider their position and policies, and to take the initiative and conduct procedures that will build trust with the national Palestinian authorities."

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians ended in September after an Israeli moratorium on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank expired.

But Netanyahu said there remained a possibility for a resumption of talks.

"Netanyahu reiterated that he believes that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is possible provided that the latter are willing to end the conflict," a statement from the Israeli prime minister's website said. "He asked President Mubarak to act to persuade the Palestinians to move to direct, intensive and serious negotiations -- in which all core issues will be raised -- forthwith."

The statement added, "Netanyahu said that Israel is committed to aggressively fighting terrorist elements in Gaza that endanger its security and peace."

Palestinian officials have been calling for a halt to Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which they consider to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Israel, which annexed the eastern part of the Jerusalem in 1967, considers the entire city to be its sovereign capital, a claim not recognized by the international community.

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