News / Middle East

    Panetta: Gaza Violence Cause for Concern

    Luis Ramirez
    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expressing concern about the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, where Israel has conducted yet another day of airstrikes aimed at militants who have been firing rockets into southern Israel.

    Panetta is in Asia promoting the U.S. plan to shift forces to the Asia-Pacific region, but his attention has been called to events in the Middle East.

    On Thursday, he was briefed on the situation in Gaza before giving an exclusive interview to VOA in Bangkok.  

    “Any time violence springs up in the Middle East, wherever it is, it's cause for concern because you never know quite where it's all going to lead.  I understand the reasons Israel is doing what they're doing,” Panetta said.

    In the past year, Israel has been hit by nearly 800 rockets from Gaza and has responded with airstrikes.  

    In the wide-ranging interview, Panetta said the violence shows the need for a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    “Our hope is, that in striking back, that they can minimize the civilian deaths that are likely to occur. But, I hope in the end that all sides recognize that this is no way to solve the problems of the Middle East.  Ultimately, the hope is that we can get back to try to negotiate a permanent peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and provide a more permanent peace in that region.” Panetta said.

    Another area of special concern for Panetta is Syria, where cross-border attacks have prompted Turkey to ask NATO for Patriot missiles to place along the Syrian border.  Panetta says the U.S. supports that request and that talks with Turkey are under way.

    “They have asked that we work with them to try to see what we can do to give them some missile defense capability. And we are working with them. And our hope is that we can help provide that kind of assistance,” Panetta said.

    The U.S. has praised the Syrian opposition's formation of a coalition but stopped short of supplying arms to rebels fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad.  

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday announced $30 million in additional humanitarian aid for Syrians affected by the fighting.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Tim Hariss from: USA
    November 16, 2012 8:33 PM
    I just learned that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has threatened to blow up the ancient Egyptian monuments... just like the Taliban destroyed the Ancient Hindu Buddha... I can't believe that we are still subsidizing this deplorable Islamic Egyptian regime to the tun of over a Billion Dollars a year!!! What are we doing??? what the hell is wrong with us..??? is that the imbecilic influence of the Arabists in the State Dept...???

    by: Darling Bar from: UK
    November 16, 2012 5:15 PM

    Tasha, excellent comment... you neglected to mention that the scumbags that Assad is fighting against are the Muslim Brotherhood... and they are just like the Hamas in Gaza... and they are spreading across the Middle East... I agree with you that Israel is a God sent to humanity... I love them just as much as you do... but they do make idiotic mistakes... "land for peace" would you believe that stupidity - in the Middle East..!!! let the West know that the Muslim Brotherhood do not pervert the Sunni Qoranic tenets... they give depraved Sunni Qoranic tenets its full perverted expression.

    Egypt is threatening to close the Sues Canal... and obliterate the ancient Egyptian monuments... slaughter the Cops - who were once the majority in Egypt... Egypt was once a Coptic Christian country... just like Lebanon was once a Christian country...

    I wonder what "incentives" the weak Obama administration is going to offer to this Islamic imbecile just to have him promise to keep the Sues canal open... which he has no power to guarantee... may be build him another Aswan Dam...


    by: Tasha Lorimton from: USA
    November 16, 2012 2:05 PM
    AMAZING...!!! here we have Assad killing 38000 of these scumbags... Jordan is consumed by the Muslim Brotherhood... the same organization that toppled Egypt, the US greatest Arab Ally... and the world is partially amused... now, let Israel take out the rocket launchers of the same scumbags and monopolize all the attention... that is why I love Israel... they are fighting to keep our values uppermost... a fierce liberal diverse democracy... we owe them all the support we can muster... and the Arabs deserve all the contempt we can generate

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    November 16, 2012 9:18 AM
    Hamas is a terrorist proxy organization of Iran; I believe that Iran instructed its proxy (Hamas) to open a new international front to disstract the attention of the international community from the conflict in Syria. In addition these conflicts distract the international community from the ongoing nuclear developments in Iran. There has been a tremendous failure, by some nations, in monitoring the flow of weapons to the Gaza terrorists. The number of weapons they have displayed/fired is clearly indicative that those nations, which promtoted the unilateral withdrawl of Israel from Gaza, failed Israel. Now the Jewish state is left holding the bag. It was many of the EU nations that very much forced the hand of Israe to withdraw from Gazal; now Israeli citizens in the South, are left in a very precarious security situation. It should be self evident now, as to where did much of the financial aid to Gaza go= acquisition of massive quantities of weapons to attack Israeli civilians. It is clear that Israel did not want, nor does it need another war. Israel's reaction so far has been timid, and they have failed to use the type of power/weapons that other countries would use in such terrible situation.
    In Response

    by: Ralph from: Washington state
    November 16, 2012 5:05 PM
    Your comments are certainly valid. I believe this is caused in part because of the apparent concern that the US may not assist them if an all out blitz from other Arab countries. This administration has shown a lack of concern for Israel, and without some support things could get serious in short time. Just an added comment. As much as I hate the thought, I believe that Israel has a need to pinpoint schools and hospitals. This type reaction would show these radicals that unfettered missile firing indiscriminately, killing women and children is unacceptable behavior. That is the only way you can get their attention. Either that or turn 10,000 pig loose in Gaza.

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    November 16, 2012 5:15 AM
    Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly...and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment? Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now under attack you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn't possibly reach an accommodation. And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland.

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    November 16, 2012 5:12 AM
    "..Israel has been hit by nearly 800 rockets from Gaza and has responded with airstrikes." Or just maybe, illegally besieged Palestine has suffered numerous Israeli air strikes against civilians and infrastructure and pathetically responded with crude and ineffective rockets.

    by: Samantha Churchill from: UK
    November 15, 2012 10:13 PM
    the World has gone drastic transformation in the last few years... a global awareness of the Islamic metastatic spread across the West has reinvigorated identification with and ardent support and solidarity (and awe) for and with Israel.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.