Israeli assault on Gaza Strip draws widespread condemnation
www.chinaview.cn 2008-12-28 14:25:56   Print

Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations         

Jordanians shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.

Jordanians shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Saturday morning launched a massive air raid which it said was targeted at Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 225 and wounding 700,a move that has drawn condemnation from many countries and world bodies.

    The Arab world reacted strongly to the Israeli attacks. Egypt, an active mediator between Israel and Palestine's Islamic Hamas movement, strongly condemned the Israeli military action on Saturday and summoned the Israeli ambassador in Cairo.

    Israel is responsible for the casualties in the strikes, Egypt's official MENA news agency cited a statement issued by the Egyptian presidency as saying.

    Any military escalation would deteriorate the humanitarian condition in Gaza and have a negative impact on stability in the Middle East, the statement said.

    Egypt has also urged Palestinian groups "to adhere to calm and desist from giving Israel an excuse to attack Gaza," it added.

    Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora denounced the Israeli air raids as "tragic and criminal."

    Seniora called upon the Arab League, as well as Arab kings and heads of state, to convene an extraordinary session and adopt a "united Arab stand to face the aggression."

    He also called on the United Nations to adopt "deterrent and necessary measures against Israel for it's continuous violations of Palestinian and Arab human rights."

    Seniora also pledged a "Lebanese, Arab and international solidarity campaign to stop the attack and rescue the victims."

    Iran also condemned the Israeli raid on Gaza. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said in a statement that the Israeli attack was proof of the aggressive attitude of the Zionist regime.

    He called for urgent action from the UN Security Council, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and other Islamic nations and countries to "prevent this regime (of Israel) from continuing its crimes."

Protesters shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.

Protesters shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    In a statement issued on Saturday, Syria condemned the Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip as a "heinous crime and convicted terrorist act."

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the Arab Summit, called for an emergency Arab summit to discuss possible action regarding the situation in the Gaza Strip following the Israeli raid.

    "Syria condemns this appalling crime and calls on Arab nations and the international community to use all available means to pressure Israel to stop this aggression immediately, allow the transfer of the injured and ensure them medical care, and open all crossings to allow access of foodstuffs and health needs to the besieged Palestinian people," the statement said.

    Shortly after the attack Saturday, Libyan leader Muammar al Gaddafi called in succession Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Syrian President Al-Assad to discuss "urgent action."

    The Libyan Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on Arabs to take action "in response to the Israeli brutality against Gaza," and urged the international community to stop Israel's attacks.

    The Sudanese government on Saturday also issued a statement strongly condemning the Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip, and asked the Arab League and the OIC to hold urgent meetings at the levels of foreign ministers and heads of state to discuss the Israeli military action.

    It also called on the UN Security Council and the international community to exert pressure on Israel to stop the action and lift its blockade against the Palestinian people.

    Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco on Saturday also condemned the Israeli air strikes and urged the international community to move quickly to stop the bloody raids.

    Jordan's lower house Saturday condemned the Israeli strike and called for an immediate end to the attacks.

    Jordan also summoned the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to discuss the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza, the Foreign Ministry said.

    Turkey strongly condemned "the death of many Palestinians as result of Israel's attack on Gaza," and appealed for "an immediate halt" to the military operation.

Protesters shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.

Protesters shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Photo Gallery>>>


    "We strongly condemn the death of many Palestinians as result of Israel's attack on Gaza. We are calling for restraint and an immediate halt to the Israeli operation," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    "We are inviting the international community not to remain indifferent to this tragedy and extend a helping hand to Gaza," the statement said.

    Saudi Arabia in a statement Saturday also condemned the Israeli attacks.

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday condemned the Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, and supported the call for an emergency Arab League meeting, a Foreign Affairs Ministry statement said.

    Outside the Arab world, countries such as Finland, Argentina, Brazil and Switzerland also joined a chorus of criticism against Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.

    The European Union's (EU) foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, on Saturday urged an immediate halt to military action by both Israel and the Palestinians, saying "there is no military solution" to the situation in Gaza.

    "The EU has repeatedly condemned rocket attacks against Israel. The current Israeli strikes are inflicting an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians and will only worsen the humanitarian crisis as well as complicate the search for a peaceful solution," he said.

    Solana urged Israelis and Palestinians to return to calm and called on everybody in the region to use their influence to encourage restraint and prevent recourse to violence.

    The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet behind closed doors at 10:00 p.m. EST Saturday (0300 GMT Sunday) to discuss the latest violence and bloodshed in the Israel-Palestine conflict, diplomatic sources said.

    Earlier on Saturday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate halt to the violence in Gaza and southern Israel, condemning the excessive use of force leading to civilian casualties and the ongoing rocket attacks by militants.

    However, Israel's longtime ally the United States said Saturday that it held Hamas responsible for the bloodshed.

    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned Hamas for breaking the ceasefire with Israel and leaving more than 200 dead in renewed violence in Gaza.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak (R) and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (L) hold a news conference in Tel Aviv December 27, 2008. Olmert said on Saturday Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip could "take time", and braced residents of the country's south for sustained rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled enclave.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak (R) and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (L) hold a news conference in Tel Aviv December 27, 2008. Olmert said on Saturday Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip could "take time", and braced residents of the country's south for sustained rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled enclave.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    "The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza," Rice said in a statement.

    Earlier in the day, the U.S. State Department urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties when it launched reprisal strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, and said that the Islamic movement must stop its rocket attacks.

    Israel launched air strikes Saturday against the Gaza Strip, hitting more than 30 targets, most of them security compounds run by the Hamas movement.

    At least 225 Palestinians were killed and some 750 others wounded in a series of rapid and intensive air strikes, Palestinian officials said.

    Hamas has vowed to exact revenge with rocket attacks and suicide bombings.

    About an hour after the Israeli airstrike, militants in Gaza fired rockets into southern Israeli towns, killing one woman.

Protesters shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.

Protesters shout anti-Israel and anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip in Amman December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 195 people in one of the bloodiest days in the Palestinians' conflict with Israel.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Photo Gallery>>>



Protesters shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, in Istanbul December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 205 people in the bloodiest one-day death toll in 60 years of conflict with the Palestinians.

Protesters shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, in Istanbul December 27, 2008. Israeli warplanes and helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 205 people in the bloodiest one-day death toll in 60 years of conflict with the Palestinians.(Xinhua Photo)
Photo Gallery>>>


Editor: Bi Mingxin
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