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US gives Israel free reign on whether to invade Gaza


The United States gave Israel free reign Friday on whether to send troops into the Gaza Strip, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is an Israeli demand for Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire.

But the White House said it has asked Israel to try hard to avoid civilian casualties as reserves were called up for an expected ground incursion on top of a week of air strikes that has killed more than 400 Palestinians.

"We've been in regular contact with the Israelis," White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters when asked if US officials were trying to prevent a possible ground offensive.

US officials have urged the Israelis "to be mindful that any of the actions that they're taking in Gaza avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and also to help continue with the flow of humanitarian goods," he said.

"So I think any steps they are taking, whether it's from the air or on the ground or anything of that nature, are part and parcel of the same operation," Johndroe said.

"Those will be decisions made by the Israelis," he said.

"Israel has a right to defend itself from these rocket attacks, and so we'll see," Johndroe said when asked about progress toward a ceasefire.

After briefing Bush about events in Gaza, just 18 days before he hands the White House to his successor Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington was pursuing diplomacy with its partners in the Middle East.

"We are working toward a ceasefire that would not allow a re-establishment of the status quo ante where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza," Rice told reporters outside the White House.

"It is obvious that that ceasefire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a ceasefire that is durable and sustainable."

Rice repeated the US stand that any ceasefire must be a "durable" one, in contrast to the previous six-month agreement that expired on December 19.

Gordon Duguid, a State Department spokesman, added that Rice has since New Year's Day spoken to former British prime minister Tony Blair, the envoy for the Middle East quartet of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

She has also spoken since then to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and her counterparts David Miliband of Britain, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nayhan of the United Arab Emirates, Salah Bashir of Jordan and Ahmed Abul Gheit of Egypt, he said.

Duguid said she also spoke Friday to Karel Schwarzenberg, the foreign minister of the Czech Republic, which has assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union.

In the last week Rice has spoken with counterparts Tzipi Livni of Israel, Saud al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Javier Solana of the European Union and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Rice again pinned the blame for the violence on Hamas, the Islamist Resitance Movement that seized power in Gaza in June 2007 after ousting the US-backed Palestinian Authority of Mahmud Abbas.

Asked if she planned to travel to the Middle East to broker an end to the crisis, Rice replied: "I have no plans at this point."

The Israeli offensive, launched a week ago on Saturday in response to a wave of rockets fired from Gaza, has killed at least 422 people and wounded more than 2,100 others.

It has prompted denunciations from around the world, but particularly from Arab and Muslim countries.

"Arab opinion, I hope will understand what we're trying to do. I understand that passions in the region are inflamed by the situation," Duguid said when asked if the US was concerned about Arab reaction.

"I only can offer them our sincerest efforts to try and work with our partners to achieve a ceasefire and move on and achieve a political settlement," he said.

He said a political dialogue was possible with Israel if Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist.

Duguid added that the United States arranged for 27 people who are US citizens and their immediate family members to leave the Gaza Strip and travel to Amman, Jordan.

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"He said a political dialogue was possible with Israel if Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist."

This quote wins the John McEnroe Prize! Gordon Duguid takes the place of that tennis official Claus Whatever on the receiving end of my You Can;t Be Serious rant.

I saw a brief clip which depicted the "rocket attacks" being "launched" from Gaza allegedly by Hammas. There was more rocket trails emanating from the pyrotechnics of any single New Year's Eve celebration. The casualties comparrison is also indicative of the attitude of the Isrealis, get the mosquito with a sledge hammer mentality. All I can call this is madness.

It is high time for Americans to actively, strongly and loudly denounce the heretofore untouchable menace, Isreal! If you get the chance, pick up James Bamfeild's THE SHADOW FACTORY. This book will give you some detailed information about just how pervasive Isreal and Isrealis influence has been and continues to be in the erosion of American civil liberties and crumbling of America's core principals as developed by our Founding Fathers.

As a lawyer, I understand the elements of the crime of extortion. I am firmly convinced that extortion is exactly what is being perpetrated by the foreign nation of Isreal against our nation. What is most devestating is that our government, at all three branches of the federal level, are so overly weighted with officials who are more inclined to serve Isreal's interests than those of the American people.

What is happening in Gaza at the hands of Isreal and America's attitude about it is a shameful demonstration of just this sickening imbalance. America is self-destructing and the new administration appears to be lined up to continue the madness!

I second everything Richard said! There are two major terrorist nations in this world, Israel and the United States. The two work together. It is up to US, the American people, to put a stop to it. The problem is our useless mass news media is keeping all of us ignorant of what is going on. It's a perfectly vicious little contrivance by and for the major corporations that run this country.

If our country had been under starvation siege for over a year we would be firing rockets too!

Al K.

Don't blame me, I voted for Ralph Nader!

We give Israel money to buy bombs. Israel buys our bombs at the expense of the taxpayer. I wonder if any of our congress people make money off of the bombs sold?


You give American citizens too much credit. Maybe the corporate media is just one collective, smelly old rag but our fellow citizens are too busy eating junk food, creating more unwanted babies, and tuning in to reality shows and sports to give a fuck about anything of consequence. The U.S. of A. is dead and buried and all that remains is an unlocked psycho ward of ambulatory and delusional depressives.


... shows aftermath of Israeli bombing of market place in Gaza.


Kids, women, average Palestinians strewn about all over.

post link up where you can. MSM will NOT cover this...

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