Keeping up with the recent developments in the Middle East…

The peace organization Brit Tzedek v’Shalom recapped in an email newsletter sent out today: “Last week, over two hundred Qassam rockets were launched by Palestinian militants into Sderot and elsewhere in Israel’s northern Negev. In response, Israel sealed Gaza’s borders, blocking access by its population to essential fuel and humanitarian supplies.” The result of this economic shutdown was Wednesday’s sudden mass exodus of Palestinians seeking supplies in Egypt “through a border fence blown up by militants — puncturing a gaping hole in Israel’s airtight closure of the Gaza Strip and giving a boost to Hamas.” (“Gazans flood Egypt after border breach,” Ibrahim Barzak, AP)

International opinion of Israel’s response was low:

The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned Israel for the 15th time in less than two years on Thursday. Only one other nation, Myanmar (ex-Burma), has been condemned by the council in that time. * * * With the support of 30 out of 47 countries, the council released a statement calling on Israel to stop its military operations in Gaza and to open the Strip’s borders to allow the entry of food, fuel and medicine. (“UNHRC slams Israel’s actions in Gaza,” Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post)

Today, the Associated Press reports that another section of fence has been bulldozed and more Palestinians have entered Egypt even as “Egyptian guards with riot shields formed human chains along the Egypt-Gaza border”. (“Hamas bulldozer wrecks another section of Rafah fence,” AP, Jerusalem Post)

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom encourages contacting President Bush to recommend

  • pursuing a ceasefire with Hamas, including an agreement to “crack down” on groups that fire rockets at Israel, and
  • coming up with a solution to Gaza’s border breach.