Israel's deadly airstrikes on Hamas compounds in the Gaza Strip are
drawing sharp reactions in the Arab world, and a variety of responses
Israeli attacks brought immediate condemnation from Arab leaders, and
especially from Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum who said the Palestinian
people would not "live in bloodshed and between body parts, wounded and
dead people," and that Israel must "pay the price" for what he called
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah group is a rival of Hamas, denounced the airstrikes and called for restraint.
League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said his organization is shocked by
the airstrikes, and condemns them as "an unimaginable and unacceptable
The Arab League has scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday
to discuss the situation. Moussa also said Arab League member Libya
will call on fellow members of the United Nations Security Council to
meet as soon as possible to deal with the situation in Gaza.
condemned the airstrikes as well, and said it would open its border
with Gaza to allow some of the wounded to be brought out.
Protesters in Jordan's capital, Amman, condemned the air raids.
foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, defended her country's actions and
called for the support and understanding of the international community.
international community understands that Hamas is an extreme Islamist
organization that spreads its hatred in the entire region, which is
being supported by Iran," she said. "And the international community
needs to understand that this is the translation of the right of Israel
to defend itself, that there is no other alternative and we are doing
what we need to do in order to defend our citizens."
the U.N., British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, European Union foreign
policy chief Javier Solana and special Mideast envoy Tony Blair all
called for an immediate restoration of calm.
the Rev. Federico Lombardi urged Israelis and Palestinians to "look for
a different way out, even though it seems impossible."
The United States urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties, and said Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel.
Russia also called on Hamas to halt the rocket attacks, and urged Israel to halt its military operation in Gaza.
there is no indication that the Israelis are ready to pull back from
Gaza. When a reporter asked Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak how
long the military operation would take, he responded, "It will take
time" and it will "widen as necessary."