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20 September 2007
Statement by Mikhail Kamynin, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regarding Israel’s Decision to Declare Gaza a “Hostile Entity”
The government of Israel, at its meeting on September 19, reportedly declared the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity,” saying the Israeli side reserves the right to impose additional restrictions on the supplies of electricity and fuel to the territory if rocket fire continues from Gaza on Israel. The Head of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, criticized such intentions, calling the Israeli cabinet’s move “an oppressive decision against the Palestinian people.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to reconsider its position on Gaza, because this runs counter to its obligations under international humanitarian law with respect to the civilian population and aims at collective punishment of Palestinians already reeling from a continuing isolation of the strip.
It is hard not to agree with such assessments. Moscow has more than once reaffirmed its principled stand on the inadmissibility of rocket strikes from Gaza at Israel, carrying a real threat to the life and security of innocent residents of Israeli towns. But the civilian population of the Palestinian territories should not be held answerable for this. Anyway, it is not violence and pressure, but advance towards a political settlement on the well-known international legal basis that can bring peace, security and calm to all peoples of the region.