Condoleezza Rice. Our Gaza goals: true calm, prevent rearmament of Hamas
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Uploaded on Jan 6, 2009
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Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State addressed the United Nations Security Council on January 6th, 2009 on the situation in Gaza and Israel's military offensive against Hamas rocket attacks.
"The United States is of course deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza which is clearly worsening.
We have been working around the clock to try and end the violence there.
The ongoing attacks against Israel and the decision that Hamas made not to respect the previous period of calm shows us that when this ends there must be new arrangements in place not a return to the status quo ante.
It is imperative that any cease fire is durable and sustainable and that it ensures the safety and security of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
The situation before the current events in Gaza was clearly not sustainable. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis lived under the daily threat of rocket attack and frankly no country, none of our countries would have been willing to tolerate such a circumstance.
Moreover the people of Gaza watched as insecurity and lawlessness increased and as their living conditions grew more dire because of Hamas's actions which began with the illegal coup against the Palestinian authority in Gaza.
A cease-fire that returns to those circumstances is unacceptable and it will not last.
We need urgently to conclude a cease-fire that can endure and that can bring real security.
This would begin a period of true calm that includes an end to rocket, mortar and other attacks on Israelis and allows for the cessation of Israel's military offensive and it must include also an end to the smuggling into Gaza and a re-opening of crossings so that Palestinians can benefit from humanitarian goods and basic supplies.
The November 2005 agreement on movement and access provides a basis for the re-opening of these crossings.
We must find a way, with the consent and full co-operation of like-minded governments to prevent any arms or explosives from entering Gaza and the tunnel systems that have allowed re-armament of Hamas must be prevented from re-opening.
Our goal must be the stabilisation and normalization of life in Gaza. This will require a principled resolution of the political challenges in Gaza that re-establishes ultimately the Palestinian Authority's legitimate control and facilitates the normal operation of all crossings.
The November 26th Arab League statement will serve as an important guide in these efforts that are lead by Egypt and the international community should adopt an intensive reconstruction initiative perhaps through a donors' conference that would complement the efforts of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza because the Palestinian Authority actually devotes 58% of its budget to Gaza; there should be an effort to reconstruct Gaza.
As we strive for a cease-fire, the United States remains deeply concerned about innocent Palestinians and Israelis who are suffering. In that regard, let me assure you that we understand the urgency of an end to the fighting and that we are working around the clock to bring it into being.
In this regard, we are pleased by and wish to commend the statement of the President of Egypt to follow up on that initiative but we also are very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
I have had from people on the ground - American partners on the ground - detailed reports about the difficult circumstances in Gaza. I have discussed these in detail with Prime Minister Olmert and with Foreign Minister Livni and the Prime Minster has informed me that as of tomorrow, Israel will open a humanitarian corridor so that there can be some relief for the people of Gaza.
This is something that we will follow up on but we will also help you Mr Secretary General to follow up on this through UNRA because the problem as I understand it is that even if goods get in to Gaza, it is not possible to distribute them within Gaza and so the United States will actively work to relieve this circumstance."
(Transcript continues in video comments)
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