News / Middle East

Arabs React Angrily to Israeli Storming of Gaza Aid Convoy

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Arab officials are condemning Israel's storming of an aid convoy bound for Gaza. 

Arab leaders and officials are reacting angrily to Israel's storming of a convoy of ships bound for Gaza and images of the raid being broadcast in the Arab media.

The Arab League called for an urgent meeting to discuss the crisis Tuesday in response to demands by several member states for a collective condemnation of Israel's conduct.  

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa is also calling for an examination of Arab relations with Israel.

He says that Arabs continue to feel the threat of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel's occupation of Arab lands, and Israel's hindrance of an effective Palestinian state.   He adds the Arab League has repeatedly sent, and will continue to send, the message that there is no profit to Israel's current policies, and it is imperative to rethink how his organization deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, also lashed out at Israel's storming of the aid ships, demanding the incident be used as a catalyst to lift Israel's and Egypt's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

He says "crimes" were committed against those who came to express solidarity with the people of Gaza, and that is a reminder there is an unjust blockade causing an open, oozing sore in Gaza.  He says all those who defend freedom, justice and democracy are calling for something to be done to break this blockade, so that the blood of these people was not spilled in vain.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whose country chairs the non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, has asked Lebanon's representative to call for an emergency meeting of the council to discuss the situation.

After a meeting in Damascus, Mr. Hariri and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad jointly condemned Israel's storming of the flotilla, calling it a "heinous crime," and urged the United Nations to put an end to what they called Israel's "flagrant violations of humanitarian norms."

Syrian government television showed images of hundreds of demonstrators chanting slogans and waving banners to denounce Israel, noting that protesters marched in "a number of Syrian provinces."

Protests also took place in the Lebanese capital, Beirut and the Jordanian capital, Amman.

In Khartoum, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir told Al Jazeera television that Arab states must "sever all ties" with Israel and, in his words, "take up the option of resistance."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who regularly attacks Israel, called its conduct "inhuman", and went on to claim the storming of the Gaza aid flotilla would, in his words, "hasten the demise" of the Jewish state.

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