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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs