vrijdag 18 juli 2008

Hamas verhindert verbeteren leefomstandigheden Gazastrook

Als zelfs het Palestijnse Ma'an nieuws in staat is ook eens een Israëlisch standpunt te brengen, dan moet de NRC dat toch ook kunnen?? Het zal wel ijdele hoop zijn dat Nir Press, directeur voor de grensovergangen met de Gazastrook, een fair interview krijgt in NRC Handelsblad of een andere Nederlandse kwaliteitskrant.

Ma'an [Palestinian news agency funded by Dutch and Danish foreign ministries]

Director of Liaison office at Erez: Hamas prevented improvement of living conditions in Gaza
Date: 15 / 07 / 2008  Time:  15:48
http://www. maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=30570

Bethlehem – Ma'an – Hamas prevented the improvement of living conditions in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli disengagement, Director of the Liaison and Coordination office of Gaza crossings, Colonel Nir Press said on Monday.

Speaking to journalists in East Jerusalem, Press expressed his sorrow over developments in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas takeover of the coastal sector in June 2007. "It was the deposed Palestinian government, and not the Israeli government that was behind the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip," he said.

Press is about to end a three-year-stint as Director in charge of the Gaza crossings. He began his posting the day after the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip. "Both the Palestinians and the Israelis then expected an improvement in economic conditions after disengagement," he said. "5,000 Gazan workers worked in Israel and agricultural exports from the coastal territory saw a noticeable increase, namely strawberries and flowers. During the first year after disengagement, 44 million flowers and 13 tons of strawberry were exported from the Gaza Strip to Europe," Press said.

After the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the situation deteriorated rapidly, according to Press.

"What made things even worse was that crossing points were attacked and targeted with mortar shells and homemade projectiles, given that the crossings were meant to serve Palestinian citizens," he added.

He went on to say, "Personally, I believe that the residents of the Strip should decide how they want to live. We continued with liaison in order to ship basic materials and medicines because we see the residents of the Gaza Strip more as neighbours than enemies."

"The Palestinians must decide – strawberries or Qassams, flowers or mortars," he added.

With regards to power cut in the Gaza Strip due to lack of fuel shipment from Israel, Press said Israel used to provide the Strip with 124 Megawatts, in addition to 17 Megawatts from Egypt and 55-60 produced by the Gaza Strip Electricity generating station. He affirmed that Israel and Egypt did not stop electricity supplies, but the Electricity Generating Station stopped for a few days because of Palestinian attacks on the Nahal 'Oz crossing point through which fuel to run the station is shipped.

Press highlighted that the Hamas de facto government in Gaza has attempted to use this as propaganda. "When the Palestinians refused to receive the quantities of fuel which were available at the Nahal 'Oz terminal, they had a reserve of 800,000 litres of diesel and 188,000 litres of benzene "and despite that they attempted to accuse Israel of creating a disastrous situation in the Gaza Strip," he said.

Regarding the Gaza ceasefire which came into effect on June 19, Press said there has never been complete "calm" as "homemade projectiles and mortar shells are constantly being launched at Israeli targets, and that has a negative effect on the performance of the crossing points and prevents the improvement of living conditions in the Strip."

Despite that, Press pointed out that shipments of goods to the Strip have increased in quantity and quality, pinpointing that the crossing points have been closed several times after shells were launched from the Gaza Strip breaching the ceasefire. He also affirmed that priority was given to goods, which the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by President Mahmoud Abbas, recommends. "Lists are arranged on a daily basis," he said.

Press concluded by saying that he is hopefull that if the Gaza truce continues and captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is released, then life for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would see a significant improvement.

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