Archive for the ‘Arab League’ Category

Arab Nations Enraged At U.S. On Gaza, Palestinian Deaths

January 4, 2009

“It’s clearly the Americans, it doesn’t require genius,” he said, adding that the US had blocked a resolution because “the Israelis still need some time to finish their operations.”


Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip was roundly condemned across the Middle East on Sunday, with Egypt also accusing the UN Security Council of failing to act quickly to resolve the crisis.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Israel’s incursion into the impoverished territory on Saturday night came in “brazen defiance” of international calls to end the fighting.

“The Security Council‘s silence and its failure to take a decision to stop Israel’s aggression since it began was interpreted by Israel as a green light,” he said in a statement as Israeli forces rumbled into Gaza.

By Samer al-Atrush, AFP

Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans during a demonstration ... 

Above: Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip was roundly condemned across the Middle East, with Egypt also accusing the UN Security Council of failing to act quickly to resolve the crisis.(AFP/Abbas Momani)

A Jordanian government spokesman said the invasion “will have dangerous repercussions and negative effects on the region’s security and stability” and called for an immediate ceasefire, state-news agency Petra reported.

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Gaza campaign exposes Middle East policy vacuum

January 3, 2009

Israel’s week-old offensive in the Gaza Strip is a violent sequel to a drive led by the United States, with much European and Arab support, to punish Hamas for resisting a largely discredited Middle East “peace process.”

The campaign is unlikely to eradicate Hamas or make it any easier for the next U.S. president, Barack Obama, to break the cycle of conflict and rescue swiftly receding prospects for a solution based on creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

Israel is consolidating its grip on the West Bank, while keeping Gazans bottled up. Splits between Palestinian factions have made sporadic U.S.-sponsored talks between the Israelis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas notional at best.

Outgoing President George W. Bush had set a goal of reaching a peace deal by the end of 2008 after belatedly relaunching Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Annapolis in November 2007.

Faced instead with a new spasm of violence, the White House has effectively encouraged the Israelis to pursue what they portray as an attempt to quell rocket attacks on their civilians and “change the reality” in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

The European Union, lacking the energy and unity to act in the diplomatic vacuum left by Washington, has merely appealed for a ceasefire — and promised a bit more humanitarian relief to the 1.5 million people locked into the coastal strip by a punitive Israeli blockade and a sealed Egyptian border.

The Arab League, caught between public dismay at the Gaza bloodshed and the hostility of many member states to Hamas and other Islamist groups allied to Iran, has agreed only to ask the U.N. Security Council to compel Israel to halt its onslaught.

But the council is toothless without the United States and other veto powers in accord. It has yet to adopt a resolution.

 Gaza, Israel Could Highlight Stark Obama, Bush Differences

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Gaza: Israel Preparing for Endgame?

January 1, 2009

Growing signs are emerging that israel is trying to shape a way to end the Gaza fighting and achieve its goals.

A ground action of Israeli troops and tanks into gaza still seems possible.  “The infantry, the artillery and other forces are ready. They’re around the Gaza Strip, waiting for any calls to go inside,” Military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said.

Israel Tanks AP

But Israel is also allowing humanitarian supplies into Gaza and has raised the notion of international observers to monitor the post violence situation inside Gaza.

The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday, 93 trucks carrying food, medicine and medical supplies donated by Jordan and international organizations were transferred into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing in the southern part of the Strip.

On Tuesday, 93 trucks were also allowed into Gaza and another 90 are expected to enter Gaza on Thursday. A plane from Qatar will also land in Israel on Thursday carrying supplies that will be transferred to Gaza.

“We have no interest in a long war. We do not desire a broad campaign. We want quiet,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a meeting of mayors of southern Israeli cities Thursday. “We don’t want to display our might, but we will employ it if necessary.”

To pave the way for a post-hostilities situation, Israel isn’t seeking a peacekeeping force, but a monitoring body that would judge compliance on both sides.

After the  2006 war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel accepted peacekeepers but was never satisfied with that arrangement.

“We are asking for a cease-fire and an international presence to monitor Israel’s commitment to it,” Israeli government aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
Several organizations have said Hamas is almost ready for a cease fire.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, whose office in Gaza was struck overnight, said Israel needed to “stop attacking and killing our children, women and men.”

“The aggression must stop, the crossings must open and the blockade must be lifted and then we can talk about all other issues,” he said in televised comments Wednesday. “Then we can start a national dialogue without any preset conditions.”
John Holmes, the UN’s undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and its emergency relief coordinator said, “It’s hard to exaggerate the degree of constant fear, I think, felt by those in Gaza, in particular, as the attacks continue.”

“And of course, there is stress on the Israeli side too because of the constant threat of rockets,” he said, speaking in a Wednesday briefing at the United Nations.

“This is a very bloody operation, by anybody’s standards, even by the standards of that part of the world,” Holmes said.

Holmes was quoted by CNN.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom


Gaza Day 6, January 1, 2009

China Made Gaza Rockets Used By Hamas

Gaza Day 6, January 1, 2009

January 1, 2009

Here is what we know:

–The United Nations Security Council circulated a draft resolution by Libya on behalf of the 22-member Arab League Wednesday, but the U.S. rejected the plan, saying the U.S. had not seen “any evidence” yet that Hamas was willing to end its rocket attacks on Israel.

–“If we’re going to talk about the truce or a cease-fire, we want to make sure that this is a sustainable,” IDF Brigadier General Mike Herzog, Defense Minister Barak’s chief of staff, told PBS on Wednesday. “We do not want to go back to a situation where our towns, and villages, and our citizens are being fired [at] daily.”

–Saudi Arabia and the Arab League chief on Wednesday blamed the divisions between Fatah and Hamas for Israel’s attacks in Gaza, and urged them to unite to help end the fighting at an urgent Arab League meeting. 

–On the ground, Israeli troops and tanks were observed moving closer to Gaza.  A ground attack is “imminent” accoding to sources in the IDF.  The Israel Defense Forces recommended a major, but relatively short-term, ground offensive in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as military preparations continued on the border. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff of the  Haaretz Newspaper said the Israeli army was given the green light to forge ahead with Operation Cast Lead, which enters its sixth day Thursday.–Israeli jets bombed the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza early Thursday and navy ships opened fire at Hamas positions along the coastline.

Israeli soldiers prepare their weapons as they deploy on the ... 
Israeli soldiers prepare their weapons as they deploy on the northern border with the Gaza Strip. Hamas vowed to fight “until the last breath” if Israel makes good on threats to send ground troops into Gaza after rejecting calls for a truce and pressing on with its air assault.(AFP/Jack Guez)

–On Wednesday, some 70 rockets were fired from Gaza at the Negev, among them some 10 Katyushas with a range of about 40 kilometers. These landed in Be’er Sheva and around Ashdod.

Yuval Diskin, the head of the Shin Bet security service (Israel’s CIA), told the Israeli Cabinet Wednesday that Hamas leaders were taking shelter in the mosques “on the assumption that Israel will not attack.”  Mosques in Gaza were being hit by Israeli forces on January 1.  Gaza City’s Tel Al-Hawa mosque is now in ruins, with only its minaret remaining upright.  According to the Associted Press, A security official said Israeli intelligence — probably surveillance aircraft — saw missiles being fired outside the mosque and the men who launched them running inside the building. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss intelligence operations.

–The Jerusalem Post reported that Pro-US Arab countries – Egypt, in particular – have come under heavy criticism in widespread street protests, as well as from Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah, for allegedly not doing enough to stop Israel or help Gazans.

“We did not enter this operation in order to end it with the firing still continuing,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a meeting of his security Cabinet on Wednesday, according to a senior government official.

“Hamas broke this cease-fire,” Olmert said. “If the conditions ripen” and if there is a solution “that promises a better security … we will consider it, but we are not there yet,” he said, according to the official.

See a CNN Report:


The Hamas leader, Osama Mazini, said in a statement distributed by the Hamas press office that his fighters were eager for a ground assault. “The people of Gaza are waiting to see the Zionist enemy in Gaza to tear them into pieces of flesh,” said Mazini.

Read a complete AP report from early January 1:


From Robert Burns
The Associated Press

By insisting that Hamas go first in any cease-fire with Israel, the Bush administration is sticking to its support for the Jewish state’s right of self-defense while stopping short of encouraging an Israeli ground assault aimed at fully reoccupying the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The Bush administration on Wednesday asserted its desire for a halt to the fighting but also made clear its view that the first step in any cease-fire will require Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rejects Israel’s right to exist, to agree to stop firing rockets from Gaza into Israel now and in the future.

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China Made Gaza Rockets Used By Hamas

Gaza New Year Ground Offensive Probable; Israeli Troops Moving Foward

December 31, 2008

Israel sent more troops to the Gaza border Wednesday, rapidly moving forward with preparations for a possible ground offensive as the next stage of its military assault on the coastal territory’s Hamas rulers. Israel rebuffed calls by world leaders for a truce, and Hamas was cold to a cease-fire. Instead, both intensified their fire. Israel bombed a mosque that it said was used to store rockets as well as vital smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border, and the Islamic militants hammered southern Israeli cities with about 60 rockets.

Israeli troops trudged between dozens of tanks in muddy, rain-sodden fields outside of Gaza, assembling equipment, cleaning weapons and scrubbing the insides of tank barrels. Their commanders moved forward with preparations for a ground operation, said an Israeli defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

By Ibrahim Barzak And Jason Keyser, Associated Press Writers

Israel Tanks 
AP Photo

The U.N. Security Council scheduled emergency consultations Wednesday night to discuss an Arab request for a legally binding and enforceable resolution to ensure an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Egyptian Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said he was on instructions from Arab League foreign ministers who met in Cairo.

Diplomatic efforts by U.S., European and Middle Eastern leaders appeared to be having little effect. A French proposal for a 48-hour cease-fire to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza failed to gain traction. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the time was not ripe to consider it. A separate proposal by Turkey and Egypt, two of Israel’s few allies in the Muslim world, also seemed to be attracting little serious study in Israel or Gaza, where Hamas has also dismissed talk of a truce.

With a shrinking number of targets to hit from the air and top Hamas leaders deep in hiding, a ground operation seemed all the more likely. In five days of raids, Israeli warplanes have carried out about 500 sorties against Hamas targets, and helicopters have flown hundreds more combat missions, a senior Israeli military officer said on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

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Iran Urges Arabs to Condemn Israel and All “Zionists”; Calls Palestinian Losses “Real Holocaust”

December 31, 2008

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot even say the word “Israel” and has said the “Zionist state should be wiped from the earth,” is now urging the Arab League and all Arabs and Islamists to rise up against Israel.

Said Ahmadinejad: “The ongoing crimes committed by the cultureless Zionists in Gaza have saddened all advocates of liberty and freedom worldwide and pleased savages. Women, children, youth, the pious and devoted, and shelter-less men are being murdered in their land in the heaviest siege that does not allow entry of food and medicine for the crime of insisting on their basic human rights.”

“This is while leaders of arrogant, corrupt, bullying and oppressive powers and their affiliates, explicitly or implicitly support the criminals who commit these brutal acts by remaining silent.”

The Iranian president went on to add that “The disgraceful Zionists are not demonstrating their power, rather this is a show of their weaknesses. Killing civilians and defenseless people will not lead to the supremacy of the murderers. Zionists and their tyrannical patrons have reached a dead-end and are on the verge of decline. Such crimes only further darken their disgusting track record. The US regime and some European governments should know that they too will be held accountable for these crimes.”

He called Israel’s action in Gaza “The real Holocaust.”

In the past Mr. Ahmadinejad has said that israel fabricated the holocaust for its own reasons.

“Therefore, the people of Gaza represent all peace-seeking masses against all ugliness, aggressions and savagery. These people are sacrificing their lives to help uphold human dignity”
said Ahmadinejad.

Today Ahmadinejad said,  “If the Arab League does not want to do anything today, when does it want to act?” the president told a rally in Zahedan in southeast Iran.

“Aren’t these oppressed Palestinians Arabs? So when should the capacity of the Arab League be used? The Arab League should act quickly,” he said in a speech broadcast on state television. 

From Peace and Freedom

 Gaza Is “Proxy War to Eradicate Israel” Funded By Iran
Volunteer suicide bombers seek to attack Israel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)


Iran’s president told the Arab League, which meets on Wednesday, it must act quickly to end Israeli attacks on Gaza Palestinians adding that setting up a committee or making speeches was not enough.

But Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not suggest any specific action by Arab states, some of which had been criticised by non-Arab Iran for not doing enough to help protect Palestinians after more than 380 had been killed.

“If the Arab League does not want to do anything today, when does it want to act?” the president told a rally in Zahedan in southeast Iran.

“Aren’t these oppressed Palestinians Arabs? So when should the capacity of the Arab League be used? The Arab League should act quickly,” he said in a speech broadcast on state television.


He added that setting up a committee and making speeches was not adequate and would allow Israel to continue its actions.

Arab foreign ministers hold an emergency session at the Cairo-based Arab League on Wednesday. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Cairo would propose a way to contain the current conflict to the ministers.

Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, has often been singled out for criticism by Iranian protesters for not doing more to help Palestinians. Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel, and Iran, which does not recognise the Jewish state, do not have full diplomatic ties.

Iran Cleric Tells All Muslims To Rise Up Against Isreal; Tumult in Mideast
Gaza Is “Proxy War to Eradicate Israel” Funded By Iran

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