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Situation in Gaza

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
The White House
Washington, DC
January 2, 2009

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SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. I’ve just had a chance to brief the President and to discuss with him the situation in Gaza. Obviously, the United States is very concerned about the situation there and is working very hard with our partners around the world to address it.

I want to begin by noting that Hamas has held the people of Gaza hostage ever since their illegal coup against the forces of President Mahmoud Abbas, the legitimate President of the Palestinian people. The Hamas has used Gaza as a launching pad for rockets against Israeli cities and has contributed deeply to a very bad daily life for the Palestinian people in Gaza, and to a humanitarian situation that we have all been trying to address. But frankly, Hamas has made it very difficult for the people of Gaza to have a reasonable life.

We are working toward a cease-fire that would not allow a reestablishment of the status quo ante where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza. It is obvious that that cease-fire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a cease-fire that is durable and sustainable. I might note that it was Hamas that rejected the Egyptian and Arab calls for an extension of the tahadiya that Egypt had negotiated. But I have been in constant contact with the key Arab states. I have talked with our European colleagues, and we are talking constantly with the Israeli Government to find a solution to Gaza that will be a sustainable one for the people of Gaza, for the people of Israel and for the people of the Palestinian territories of the Middle East more broadly.

The President has also been in touch with the major leaders of the Arab States and with the Israelis. And we’re going to continue our work toward a cease-fire that will not allow a return to the status quo ante and that will be durable. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Dr. Rice, do you plan to go to the Mideast to broker…?

SECRETARY RICE: I have no plans at this point. Thank you.

2009/003



Released on January 2, 2009

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