12 TAMIL GUARDIAN Wednesday December 24, 2008 NEWS Hamas ‘may extend’ truce if Israel ends siege, attacks AFP A tense calm reigned over Gaza failing to respect its terms," on Tuesday, as Hamas confirmed Khaled Meshaal told the Russia that it might consider agreeing to Today satellite channel from his a new truce with Israel if it lifted base in the Syrian capital. its crushing siege of the impover- "There has not been a halt to ished territory. [Israeli] raids and, quite the con- Hamas declared the end of a trary, the blockade has been tight- 24-hour lull, but deposed Foreign ened," he said, referring to the Minister Mahmoud Zahhar, a Egyptian-brokered deal that senior party leader, told AFP the expired on December 19. Islamist movement could consid- "Those who want to talk with er renewing it and agreeing to a us about the truce must address new long-term truce. the blockade imposed on our An Egyptian-mediated six- Palestinian people. This unjust month truce ended Friday and blockade has left more than 270 Hamas initially said it would not people dead. It's a real tragedy," renew it in light of repeated he said. Israeli violations of the deal. "The international community Gaza militants fired three watched our people suffer for six rockets and one mortar round months without speaking out to which hit without causing dam- demand the opening of the border age or injury during the period. It crossings. The behavior of Israel was not immediately clear which and the international community resistance group in Gaza has meant that people did not launched the attacks. understand the importance of the Israel did not launch any raids truce." on the territory after Hamas Various UN and EU officials announced on Monday that it have slammed the effects of would not launch rockets or fire Israel's blockade on the popula- mortars for 24 hours. tion of the Gaza Strip, roughly Hamas is ready to renew the half of whom depend on interna- truce "if Israel respects the condi- tional humanitarian aid. tions of a cease-fire," Zahhar said Richard Falk, the top UN Tuesday. human rights official for These include lifting the Palestine, said recently that Israeli blockade of the Palestinian policies amounted to a "crime enclave and stopping military against humanity." raids on the besieged territory. "We demand that Israel The overcrowded and aid- respect truce conditions ... in par- dependent territory of some 1.5 ticular that it stop all forms of million people has been subject to aggression and open the border Israeli sanctions and repeated crossings," said Zahhar. raids since 2006, when Hamas Under the terms of the won parliamentary polls and later Egyptian-mediated cease-fire that participated in a deadly cross-bor- went into effect in June, Israel der raid in which militants seized was to lift its siege of the territory an Israeli soldier. if Hamas reined in fighters firing Aid groups have repeatedly rockets into the Jewish state. appealed to Israel to lift its restric- While Hamas was able to vir- tions - which have seen Gaza vir- tually halt the rockets, Israel tually sealed off, including from Palestinian designer Mirvat Ghandur (R) shows the writing on her entry in the television talent show never complied with its commit- international aid, since the 'Mission: Fashion' at the studios of the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, on December 12, 2008. ment. November invasion and the The text reads: 'Everyone has a country to live in... except us, our country lives in us'. Ghandur won However, the deal held until Palestinian retaliation - to avoid a the designing segment of the competition. Photo Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images November 4, when Israel invaded further humanitarian crisis. Gaza in an offensive that killed Meanwhile, Palestinian presi- seven Hamas members. dent Mahmud Abbas on Monday "I am sure that we will work diplomatic quartet for Middle ments in the West Bank. The invasion, along with other met Russian President Dmitry together in a fruitful manner, East peace that also includes the "During the discussions he Israeli assassinations, prompted Medvedev for the first time, seek- above all as the problems against European Union, United Nations will insist on the necessity that Gaza-based fighters to resume ing Russian support to keep the which the region is confronted are and United States and has had tra- Israel stop building settlements rocket fire on the Zionist state. shaky Middle East peace process growing at the moment," ditionally friendly relations with and prevent a rollback to the start- Also Tuesday, Hamas' exiled on track. Medvedev said during their talks. the Arab world dating back to the ing point of the negotiations," leader said any new truce with Abbas's visit to Moscow came Abbas added: "We have many Soviet era. Erakat said. Israel must involve the easing of against a backdrop of resurgent questions to discuss and we know Palestinian negotiator Saeb Abbas's visit to Moscow came the blockade on the territory. unrest in the Gaza Strip, with that you bring a particular atten- Erakat told AFP ahead of the after he travelled to Washington "The truce has not been Israel threatening a major offen- tion to the problems of the Middle Moscow talks that Abbas would last week in a bid to keep peace renewed, it's the Zionist enemy sive against Hamas, the Islamist East." be seeking to enlist Russia's sup- efforts alive, amid growing ten- that bears the responsibility after group that controls the enclave. Russia is a member of the port in opposing Israeli settle- sions between Israel and Hamas.