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PALESTINE

Palestinian Coalition Government Calls for Sanctions against Israel

Thursday 24 May 2007

The Palestinian coalition government called Thursday upon the international community to place sanctions on Israel after the Israeli army took prisoners earlier in the day 33 Hamas leaders including a minister.

Ghazi Hamad, the Palestinian cabinet’s spokesman, was quoted as saying: “we call on the European Union, the United Nations and the world organizations to impose sanctions on Israel, because it is violating the international law”.

The Israeli army launched on Thursday an arrest campaign in the West Bank, rounding up 33 Hamas leaders including 3 municipal board members and the education minister, Naser Aldin Alsha’er, Palestinian sources confirmed.

“by so doing, the Israeli government is leading the region into renewed violence”, said Ghazi Hammad.

Last summer, the Israeli occupation authorities arrested more than 40 Hamas leaders, including ministers and MPs, in an attempt to weaken the Islamist governing group, after it came to power in 2006’s parliamentary elections.

Israel claims that the Thursday’s arrests were intended at obliging Hamas to stop firing homemade shells from Gaza Strip into nearby Israeli towns.

The Fatah movement, which is sharing the government with Hamas, condemned the Israeli actions in the West Bank, saying the Israeli government aims at obstructing an intra-Palestinian understanding.

Yesterday, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas met in Gaza with representatives of the Palestinian resistance factions on possible restoration of the truce with Israel.

The factions insisted that any truce with Israel should include the West Bank before homemade shells fire comes to a halt.

Some commentators believe that Israeli practices in the West Bank and Gaza would further weaken Abbas’s position in his efforts to contain intra-Palestinian violence, from one hand and the Israeli-Palestinian violence from the other hand.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza have gone unabated over the past week, targeting Hamas operatives and causing severe damages to people’s properties, the latest was a beaux de change.

The international quartet (United States, United Natioins, and European Union, Russia), alongside with Israel, has been isolating a Hamas-led government in Palestine since last January. The isolation involved a crippling economic embargo that has led to the highest poverty rate in more than a decade.