Israel Rejects EU Requested 48 Hour Ceasefire
By Khristov Exoucia
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News) — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected a European Union request for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, saying Israel will uphold its commitment to provide basic foodstuffs and medicines to the residents of the Hamas-controlled region.
The Israel leader said that he has respect for the United Nations and its institutions, but that his country will act in accordance with the regional initiative lead by the Americans and to put an “…’international blanket’ over the fire in Gaza…”.
Olmert said “The most important thing from our standpoint is to stop the smuggling and the strengthening of Hamas. We have had enough of the gestures; we demand action that will bring security to the residents of Israel’s south.”
He said Hamas rockets continue to hit deeper into Israel. “Look where they are shooting. They are reaching Gedera. Before the lull, they were shooting 20 kilometers (9 miles). After the lull, they are shooting 40 kilometers (18 miles). If there is another lull, they will reach 60 kilometers (25 miles) and more”, Olmert told to visiting European ministers.
Iran and Syria are continually trying to smuggle improved rockets into Gaza, he alleged. So far most of the rockets fired at Israel with a range of up to 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) were assembled by Hamas and came from Iran, according to the Israeli government.
Olmert urged EU envoys to support a regional initiative that would see Egypt take control over a key route to stop the arms smuggling into Gaza.