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United States Calls for an End to Gaza Violence

16 May 2007

State Department spokesman says violence undermines Palestinian aspirations

Washington – The United States is calling on rival Palestinian factions to end the violence plaguing the Gaza Strip.

“We're concerned about the violence in Gaza,” State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said at a May 16 briefing.  “We want to see that stop.”

More than 40 people have been killed in four days of clashes between Hamas militants loyal to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Fatah forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas. The eruption in violence comes two months after the parties entered into a Saudi-brokered national unity government.

Casey said the violence is counterproductive for the Palestinians. 

“This is something that certainly does nothing to help advance the cause of the Palestinian people,” he said.  “It certainly doesn't help bring them any closer to achieving the Palestinian state that people want and desire, and it certainly doesn't help the humanitarian situation for the Palestinian people.”

Casey also condemned Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel.  He speculated that Palestinian security forces under President Abbas are hard pressed to stop the rocket attacks while they are engaged in violent battles with Hamas militants. Nevertheless, he said, “Those attacks need to stop.  It's a fundamental obligation of the Palestinian Authority to stop them.”

Israel has responded to the rocket attacks with missile strikes on a facility used by Hamas in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

Casey called on all parties to work with Abbas to calm the situation.

For more information on U.S. policies, see The Middle East:  A Vision for the Future.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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