News / Middle East

    World Leaders React to Growing Crisis Between Israel, Hamas

    • Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City, July 9, 2014.
    • Smoke and debris rise after an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip seen from the Israeli side of the Israel Gaza Border, July 9, 2014.
    • Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians during their funeral in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014.
    • Israelis run towards a bomb shelter as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets in the southern city of Ashkelon, July 9, 2014.
    • An Israeli looks at damage to his home in a kibbutz near border with the Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014.
    • An Israeli border police officer surveys the damaged caused to a structure after it was hit by a rocket, near the border with the Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014.
    • Smoke and fire rise from an Israeli missle strike in Rafah, Gaza, July 8, 2014.
    • A police officer gestures as Palestinians inspect the remains of a car which police said was targeted in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.
    • Palestinians gather around the remains of a car which police said was targeted in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.
    • Palestinians search through the rubble of a house destroyed by an overnight Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.
    • Palestinians try to salvage what they can from the rubble of a house destroyed by an overnight Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.
    Images from Gaza

    Israel escalated its air assaults against Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Wednesday, having struck at more than 400 targets that led to nearly  40 Palestinian deaths in the past two days.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday to ramp up an Israeli campaign against Gaza militants.

    "We have decided to further intensify the attacks on Hamas and the terror organizations in Gaza," his office quoted him as saying after consulting defense chiefs in southern Israel.

    Israel, Gaza, West Bank mapIsrael, Gaza, West Bank map
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    Israel, Gaza, West Bank map
    Israel, Gaza, West Bank map


    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called an emergency meeting of Palestinian leadership for Wednesday to discuss the Israeli "aggression," which he blamed on Netanyahu's coalition.

    In a speech given late Tuesday night, Abbas reiterated his call for protection of Palestinian against Israeli campaigns targeting terrorists in the Gaza Strip aiming to strike Israel.

    World reaction

    World leaders responded to the growing crisis in the Middle East, many stating that it was within Israel’s right to protect itself against Hamas’ rocket attacks.

    President Barack Obama said that "everyone involved" should act in a sensible and measured way, rather than seek revenge or retaliation.”

    Obama’s comments were published in the German newspaper Die Zeit and he reiterated U.S. support for a two-state, Israeli-Palestinian solution and added that "both sides must be prepared to accept risks for peace.”

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, "The missile attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip has created a situation which threatens a spiraling process of violence and violent counter measures. Israel of course has the right to protect its citizens from rocket attacks."

    Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that Ban "condemns the recent multiple rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza" and that "these indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas must stop."

    According to Israel Hayom, French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave said on Tuesday, "When one is here [Ashdod, Israel], 30 kilometers [19 miles] from Gaza, you can feel up close the constant anxiety and fear which the families in the south live with, who find themselves yet again hostage to the violence. I would like to say to these families that we are not forgetting them and that France stands alongside them."

    Mediation downplayed

    Egypt on Wednesday urged Israel and Hamas in Gaza to halt their escalating conflict but played down hopes of a Cairo-mediated truce.

    Egypt, which has a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, played a key role in mediating cease-fires in past wars between Hamas and the Jewish state. But it has signaled a more hands-off approach in the latest conflict, which comes at a time of mounting tensions between the new government in Cairo and Hamas.

    Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi condemned "Israeli aggression" and sent his prime minister to Gaza in a show of support for the Palestinians. Morsi brokered a truce seen as favorable to Hamas, which is linked to his Muslim Brotherhood movement.

    Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former army chief who ousted Morsi and has been elected president in his place, has said Hamas alienated Egyptians by backing the Brotherhood.

    China called for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as the Israeli army intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run territory for a second day.

    "We believe force and violence will not settle the issue, but will only exacerbate hatred," Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei said. "We hope all relevant sides will bear in mind the bigger picture of peace and safety of the people, immediately realize a ceasefire, resume peace talks as soon as possible and stick to them.”

    The Arab League on Tuesday called for the U.N. Security Council to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the Israeli military operation, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said.

    Elaraby denounced the "dangerous Israeli escalation" and warned against its humanitarian consequences in Gaza.

    Editorials

    In an opinion piece published online Wednesday, Haaretz wrote that Military restraint is no sign of weakness. “After all, there is no diplomatic process and the West Bank is threatening to erupt into a third intifada. … Operation Protective Edge, the name given Israel’s recent offensive, is designed to deliver a sharp and clear message to Hamas: Israel will not tolerate rocket fire on its territory. Still, concerns abound that this message will expand into a wider war with unpredictable consequences.”

    David Horovitz of The Times of Israel writes that this is a sobering moment for Israel. “If we are to heal this nation, last Wednesday’s killing must rid us, once and for all, of the complacent illusion that we enjoy a distinctive moral superiority over our neighbors.”

    In an opinion piece written exclusively for the Israel Conference on Peace and published on Haaretz’s website, President Obama wrote that the only solution is a democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable independent Palestinian state.

    “Just as the Israeli people have the right to live in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, the Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination,” Obama wrote. "In President Abbas, Israel has a counterpart committed to a two-state solution and security cooperation with Israel.”

    Obama drew criticism from conservative Fox News when he barely mentioned Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his commentary.

    Hamas weakened

    David Blair writing for the Daily Telegraph says history is repeating itself in Gaza, but this time Israel can seriously damage Hamas.

    Blair writes: "Like many of the Middle East’s conflicts, the conflagration in Gaza has escalated with a speed that outsiders find bewildering.

    "But two vital differences are worth highlighting. The first is that Israel’s defenses against rocket attack, based on the Iron Dome system, are more sophisticated than ever before. Hence the 160 rockets appear to have caused no injuries, let alone fatalities [in Israel].

    "The second is that Hamas is starting from a position of unprecedented weakness" - having lost support of its "axis of resistance" members, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

    Derek Stoffel of CBC News questions that Hamas, which is out of money, big supporters and supplies, so why is it shooting at Israel?

    “Hamas is broke. It's lost some of its biggest supporters. Its supply lines from Egypt are cut off. The Islamist militant group is at one of its weakest points since it was founded in 1987. Yet, its operatives are busy firing rockets at Israel, as hostilities between the two arch-enemies continues to escalate.

    “Why? Hamas has little other choice but to fight,” Stoffel writes.

    Slow-motion crisis

    David Ignatius writes for The Washington Post that the developments in the Middle East are a slow-motion crisis that we saw coming. “What happens when hopes for a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict collapse? We have been watching the answer over the past month, as extremist killers drive events and Palestinian rocket attacks beget Israeli rockets in retaliation. The fact that it was so predictable makes it all the more horrifying.”

    Ignatius also offers Rethinking Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points: The tragedy of the U.S. role in the modern Middle East is that it became, without entirely intending or realizing it, the protector of the very post-imperial order it once resisted.

    However, several commenters find Western media at fault for not offering a more balanced view of events.

    Owen Jones, writing for The Guardian, makes a case that more balance is needed in coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The macabre truth is that Israeli life is deemed by the Western media to be worth more than a Palestinian life – this is the hierarchy of death at work.”

     “There is no defense for Hamas firing rockets into civilian areas, and as sirens wail in Israel, the fear among ordinary Israelis should not be ignored or belittled. But the media coverage hardly reflects the reality,” he writes.

    Rachel Shabi, writing for Al Jazeera, echoes that comment. In reporting the current clashes, why does Western media never begin with Palestinian pain, she asks?

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
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    by: Mudasser from: toronto
    July 17, 2014 8:45 PM
    Israil has right defend their ppl from Hamas to an extend where they could say they are defending but here situation is not self defence . Israil has so far killed 166 Palestinians citizen to avenge the death of 3 Israili kids and thousands of Palestinians are injured . any sensible person can see actions of Israil are no where close to self defense . If Hamas is there for a proxy war Israil can fight with them through Mossad to eliminate the actual target but Israil using Missiles on innocent ppl its not self defence it is hatred for Palestinians . This is terrorism but shame US always come out so aggressively when muslim countries are involved in terrorism here they are silent cuz thier allys are busy in so called self defence

    by: The tao from: Flushing NY
    July 13, 2014 10:00 PM
    The Islamic world wants the whole global community to feel sorry for these so-called Palestinian, even if they commit the act of terrorism and killing 3 israeli kids means nothing for Muslims. All they want the world to hear is one Palestinian kid getting killed by jewish extremist which are the minorities in Israeli community as they downplay the 3 israelis murdered by these so-called Palestinian - to the Islamic world these muslim murderers are heroes while Israel arrest those responsible for killing a Palestinian. Is just a lame excuse by Muslims to violence and riot and if Israel doesn't exist today these Muslims will be killing one another.
    In Response

    by: Are u kidding from: USA
    July 18, 2014 2:56 AM
    The Tao, are freaking kidding me. Put yourself in place of Palestinians and your kids in place of those kids who lost their life in barbaric act of Israel. Your comments show how much you care about human life and then you have guts to call Muslims terrorist. Shame on you and your mentality.

    by: Zewdy from: usa
    July 10, 2014 11:10 AM
    It is very sad but palestines are the one who started the war killing 3 isrealites. they don't want to live in peace. it is really very difficult for isreal.
    In Response

    by: Mudasser from: toronto
    July 17, 2014 10:22 AM
    If Israil wants to live is peace solution is to deal with issue through dialoges specially Israil's dearest brother owns the United Nations . this matter should not be resolved by killing hundreds of Pelistanian s just becuase three Israili kids were killed which is also sad
    In Response

    by: Alper from: Belgium
    July 12, 2014 9:04 PM
    You are so pathetic , is it the fault of the children who die and get kidnapped by israeli soldiers? Is that their fault ? Open your eyes you are hypnotised by the media

    by: frank from: uk
    July 10, 2014 8:12 AM
    I deeply feel sorry for these people.for me israel is doing the same as what happened to them in ww2.its a shame that nobody stops them.because they dont care.they jave created this thing called 'militant ' but these 'militants' are people their choosen goverment .if they have another sort of goverment they still be btanded terrorists.is the way how tp completely do ethnic cleansing .but again nobody cares because tljews control everything.every american aspect of life.look then their congress its morenthan half jews.when they make up less then 1 percent.of the us population.look at they big bankers who are they? Thats why they can do what they want.they have the world in their hands.it doesnt take much to understamdnthat

    by: SamS from: India
    July 10, 2014 6:31 AM
    When it comes to denying the people it oppresses and occupies, the right to self defense, Israel can find a partner to back it up in any of the morally bankrupt alleys of the political leadership of the world.

    The people of the world however, who know what it means to live under the violent jackboot of authority, are a different kettle of fish altogether. And that is ultimately why Israel has no future. Boycott the apartheid state that murders entire families in Gaza.

    by: SENIOR from: HOUSTON
    July 10, 2014 2:46 AM
    "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday to ramp up an Israeli campaign against Gaza militants.
    "We have decided to further intensify the attacks on Hamas and the terror organizations in Gaza "

    Raw Videos of air raids showing destruction , killed men , women an children shows no militants . when will the world say Enough to killing the children of Palestine ?

    by: SteveHC from: USA
    July 09, 2014 10:55 PM
    Most "western media" is almost ALWAYS emphasizing "Palestinian pain" and the Palestinian version of events, FAR too often. Hopefully more balanced coverage of events will transpire during the current armed hostilities.

    by: Ali Baba from: New York
    July 09, 2014 6:55 PM
    Who is responsible for the conflict?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 09, 2014 5:59 PM
    Like the Europeans did to the American Indians in America... when they kept taking and taking more American Indian land, and finally put the American Indians on reservations to live?..... That's what the Israeli's keep doing, putting the Palestinians on shrinking reservations in Gaza, and the West Bank, and walling them in, and segregating them from the world.....

    The world will see, when the Israeli tanks and helicopters enter Gaza, if the Palestinians have any RPG's, and any of those Libyan shouldered fired anti-tank missiles, and shouldered fired anti-aircraft missiles, (that the US provided to the Sunni Muslims in Jordan and Turkey), to wage war on the Shia led governments of Syria, and Iraq, won't we?...... Some of those US supplied Libyan shoulder fired anti-tank missiles, and anti-aircraft missiles have destroyed a few tanks, and downed a few helicopters in Iraq already...... (I'd be a great Palestinian equalizer, against the Israel invasion of Gaza, wouldn't it be?)

    by: Nigel Cairns
    July 09, 2014 4:12 PM
    the politicians are to blame. Put them in the front line-or in jail
    Comments page of 2
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