Israelis, Palestinians Blame Each Other for Latest Crisis

Violence continues to escalate in the latest confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians, as both sides blame each other for the crisis. Israeli and Palestinian representatives repeated their accusations Sunday, shortly after the new United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution to conduct an annual review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel.

Israel's vice-premier Shimon Peres told CNN's Late Edition his government believes Hamas, which heads the Palestinian authority, is waging what he described as "an undeclared war of terror against Israel."

"They've become responsible for the firing of rockets on Israeli settlements, out of Gaza, and endangering the lives of innocent people," said Shimon Peres. "And secondly, they took hostage an Israeli soldier, while penetrating our sovereignty and our land, despite of the fact that we have left Gaza completely. Now we feel like we have to defend ourselves."

Hamas gunmen who took part in a raid on an Israeli army base last week are believed to have kidnapped the 19-year-old Israeli soldier.

Peres said releasing the soldier would lead to an end to Israeli retaliation, which has included repeated air strikes against Palestinian targets.

"If they release the soldier, the operation can be over in a moment's time," he said. "It's up to them. But they cannot keep the soldier as a hostage and then complain. By the way, when it comes to electricity, we checked beforehand. If the hospitals have generators to supply necessary electricity to people who are in hospital, we wouldn't bomb otherwise."

The Israeli air strikes are creating a growing humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories, which moderate Palestinian legislator Saeb Erakat says could actually hurt efforts to win the soldier's freedom.

"When you begin bombarding the electricity and the water and the bridges and the institutions, and abducting parliamentarians and ministers, what I'm afraid this is doing is undermining efforts for the release of the soldier," said Saeb Erakat.

Erakat added that he is concerned that the violence will derail efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

"Now, things are slipping outside our fingers like sand," he said. "I'm really very worried tonight. I have a lot to be concerned about. If the Israelis, I expect, expand and escalate the situation in Gaza by going in with tanks and planes and F-16s and so on, I'm afraid that this will not only widen the circle of violence and counter-violence and extremism in this part of the world between us and the Israelis, but this will transmit to the whole region."

Shimon Peres and Saeb Erakat appeared on CNN Sunday, two days after the U.N. Human Rights Council approved a resolution to review Israel's alleged human rights abuses and report on the situation at the U.N. group's next regular session in September.

Israel is not a member of the council, but protested the vote as "imbalanced and intentionally one-sided." The United States, which is also not a council member, expressed disappointment.

Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Japan voted against the resolution.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs