Barak - 'Sderot's quiet comes first'
Photo: Daniel Bar On
Gaza crossings closed
Photo: AP

Barak authorizes isolated shipment of diesel fuel to Gaza

Defense minister orders supply of diesel fuel to Gaza Strip intended to power Palestinian electricity station as well as humanitarian aid. But despite drop in Qassam rocket attacks, Israel to maintain siege

A day after Gaza went dark following the shutdown of its only power station due to Israel's decision to stop it supply of fuel to the Palestinian territory, Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized a one-time

shipment of diesel fuel to power the Hamas-controlled region's only electricity station.


Barak also authorized the entry of humanitarian aid to the Strip, including medicines.


Defense officials clarified that despite the drop in Qassam rocket barrages against Israel's south over the past few days, the current restrictions being imposed on Gaza will remain.


Six Qassam rockets were fired towards Israel on Monday compared to a daily average of over 30 rockets recorded last week.


The defense officials said it was still too early to draw conclusions but that it did seem that the IDF's operations coupled with the restrictions ordered by Barak were having a positive effect on the situation.


Fuel shortage in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)


Later Monday evening Barak said that Israel increase its pressure on Gaza to stop the rocket attacks. Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference on security Barak said: "We must use more and more pressure on Gaza, what is important is the safety of the residents of the western Negev and Sderot. I care more about our quiet than their quiet."


Barak said Israel makes efforts not to harm civilians while going after militants in Gaza. ''Many terrorists are alive and breathing only because we try not to hit civilians,'' he said.


''Israel cannot be defeated militarily and it cannot be worn down with terrorism,'' Barak said. ''Peace agreements will be achieved when the other side understands that Israel wants a proper peace, but is prepared to kill to protect its vital interests.''


Livni: Palestinians must understand no gain in terrorism

Israel's Coordination and Liaison Administration has already begun preparations of the shipments on Tuesday and said they are in contact with international aid organizations.


Col. Nir Press, who heads the CLA, said that priority was being given to humanitarian equipment demand by the Palestinians. Press said that alongside these measures Israel was also examining the requests made by ill Gazans seeking to enter Israel for medical treatment. Urgent cases are authorized entry, he said. 


Earlier in the day Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that Hamas could change the situation in Gaza in a minute's time "if they would only stop the terrorism."


"We are working to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israel's policy has never been to punish the civilian population for the behavior of its leadership – Israel is the only country in the world that supplies electricity to terror groups which in turn fire rockets at it," said Livni.


Livni stressed that the Palestinians must understand that terrorism will bring them no political gain.


AP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 01.21.08, 19:18
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