Posted by: Lister | January 4, 2009

The Status Quo Ante

That phrase has been used again, just like in the 2006 war which strengthened Hizbollah. AFP:

The European Union’s new Czech presidency said Israel did not have the right to take military actions “which largely affect civilians,” though its launching of land operations in the Gaza Strip was no surprise.

But the US State Department said any Gaza ceasefire must not allow a return to the status quo.

“We are working toward a ceasefire that would not allow a reestablishment of the status quo ante, where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza and to condemn the people of Gaza to a life of misery,” said spokesman Sean McCormack.

[…] After Israeli tanks entered Gaza, a spokesman for Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told AFP the action was more “defensive than offensive”.

At the same time, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said: “Even the indisputable right of the state to defend itself does not allow actions which largely affect civilians.”

France, which held the rotating EU presidency until December 31, 2008, went further, with Kouchner saying his country “condemns the Israeli ground offensive against Gaza just as it condemns the continuing firing of rockets”.

“This dangerous military escalation complicates the efforts undertaken by the international community… to stop the fighting, bring immediate aid to civilians and find a permanent ceasefire,” he added.

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