News / Middle East

US Working With Egypt, Turkey to Stop Israeli/Hamas Violence

A Palestinian Hamas militant walks in the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas militant Mohammad Abu Shmala, following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, November 16, 2012.A Palestinian Hamas militant walks in the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas militant Mohammad Abu Shmala, following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, November 16, 2012.
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A Palestinian Hamas militant walks in the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas militant Mohammad Abu Shmala, following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, November 16, 2012.
A Palestinian Hamas militant walks in the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas militant Mohammad Abu Shmala, following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, November 16, 2012.
— The United States is working with Egypt and Turkey to de-escalate violence between Israel and Hamas.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the rocket attacks in a Friday telephone call.  White House officials say both men share concerns about the dangers to civilians and agreed that the violence jeopardizes prospects for a durable, lasting peace in the region.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Jordan's King Abdullah and the Egyptian and Israeli foreign ministers. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressed the seriousness of the conflict.

"We have an extremely dangerous and volatile situation. We have a dangerous situation inside Gaza. We have a dangerous situation inside Israel," said Nuland.

  • Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, November 21, 2012.
  • A Palestinian man reacts as flames and smoke rise from a smuggling tunnel after an Israeli strike along the border between Egypt and Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, November 21, 2012.
  • Israelis look at a blown up bus at the site of a bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 21, 2012.
  • Israeli rescue workers and paramedics carry a wounded person from the site of a bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 21, 2012.
  • Palestinian children stand in rubble after an Israeli strike on a house in Gaza City, November 20, 2012.
  • An Israeli soldier stands on a tank at a staging area near the Israel-Gaza Strip Border, November 20, 2012.
  • A Palestinian inspects the damage to a soccer stadium after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, November 19, 2012.
  • Smoke and fire rise up from an explosion in Gaza City, November 19, 2012.
  • A Palestinian man waves the national flag during a protest against Israel's operations in Gaza Strip, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the city of Ramallah, November 18, 2012.
  • An Israeli police officer gestures in front of a burning car after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza landed in the southern city of Ashkelon, November 18, 2012. (Reuters)
  • Members of the Palestinian Civil Defense help a survivor after he was pulled out from under the rubble of his destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, November 18, 2012.
  • An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern city of Ashdod, Israel, November 16, 2012.
  • A Palestinian man kisses the body of one of his children during their funeral in the northern Gaza Strip, November 18, 2012.
  • An Israeli soldier runs with his weapon during a drill simulating a possible ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, at a base south of the West Bank city of Hebron, November 17, 2012.

The two sides have exchanged hundreds of aerial bombardments, leaving three Israelis and at least 20 Palestinians dead since a Wednesday airstrike killed the Hamas military chief.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil met with Hamas leaders in Gaza Friday, condemning the Israeli attacks as a "disaster" and saying Cairo is working to achieve a truce and an "equitable peace" that establishes a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

While supporting the prime minister's intervention, State Department spokeswoman Nuland said Washington does not endorse his comments.

"We are encouraging Egypt to use its influence on Hamas. Egypt made the decision that it would be helpful to send the prime minister to see what he could do," said Nuland. "We've been in contact with them before. We've been in contact with them afterwards. That does not in any way indicate that we endorse public statements that were made in the context of that visit."

Israeli is deploying tanks along the border with Gaza and has activated 30,000 mostly infantry reservists. Analysts say the moves could be in preparation for a ground incursion, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying his government is "prepared, if needed, to broaden the operation in a significant way.''

Nuland would not say whether the United States considers a potential ground assault on Gaza to be part of self-defense.

"Israel has a right of self-defense. I am not going to get into our private messages with any of the parties that we have been speaking to, beyond saying that we are seeking a de-escalation. We are seeking a peaceful settlement of this," said Nuland.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told VOA he hopes that in striking back, Israel "can minimize civilian deaths that are likely to occur."

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by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
November 16, 2012 8:40 PM
Hamas, the terrorist org that holds Gaza Pals, is controlled/proxy by/of Iran; Hamas will continue to fire missiles at Israeli civilians, for as long as it has missiles, and for as long as it can continue to hide behind Pal civilians. Israel is left with no choice, as usual, but to react to the terrorist attacks; unfortunately it may not have a choice but to once again, separate civilians from the Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilians, ie a ground military operation. I do hope, that if it comes to a ground ops, Israel ensures it has clear strategic objectives, and not just tactical objectives as was the case diuring cast lead. The evidence know shows that Hamas was able to smuggle a massive amount of weapons into Gaza; the naval blocade is insufficient to prevent arms smuggling. This entire conflict was not wanted nor is it needed by Israel, as usual Israel is left in a defensive war. The problems in Gaza, Terrorist control, stem from the way Israel abandoned Gaza= unilateral withdrawl; this withdrawal was at the insistance of some EU "FRIENDS" who promissed to mantain inspection teams along the Egyptian border, to ensure weapons would not be smuggled..... These same EU "FRIENDS" advice now other unilateral withdrawals.... As soon as the Hamas terrorists took over Gaza, and fired a few shots in the air, the EU inspection teams disapeard to never return.....


by: Jeremy John from: Long Island NY
November 16, 2012 7:39 PM
Seems the Arab Spring is bearing some fruit. Gone is the American and Israeli flunky Mubarak to be replaced by a man whose party was brutally suppressed during Cast Lead because of its damning condemnation of IDA savagery. The same man has the full support of the Egyptian people to come down hard on Israel should there be a repeat. He will and if that treaty with Israel goes by the boards Israel will soon follow. It best tread very carefully as forces are in place to certainly warrant such an approach.

In Response

by: Lynn from: Colorado
November 17, 2012 4:08 AM
What?!! Israel has time and time again given concessions, given way too much land to try to keep peace and they keep getting slapped in the face for doing so. They have bent over backwards to try to make peace. Iran is fueling this fight for their own gain. They are wanting to preoccupy Israel while they continue to build their nuclear weapons program. When it is complete none of the world will be safe from the trigger happy warmongers. Israel only takes up 0.01% of all lands that Muslims have, yet the Muslims want that tiny piece of land that they had rarely ever paid attention to. I know, they say now that it is the 3rd holiest site for Islam but even many Muslims would differ with that considering many other sites that Muslims are killing each other over. The only "refugees" left are all over 60 and chose that path over peaceful Israeli citizenship or repatriating to countries that were supposed to grant them citizenship also.

In Response

by: Muha-mad John from: Long Island NY
November 16, 2012 8:18 PM
I doubt if Israel harbors real concerns about the threatening intents of this den of lecherous Muslim Brotherhood reprobates... I know that we support the Egyptian Military and train their "special" forces... but really... can you honestly draw comparisons between these Arab clowns to an Israeli strike force??? the best option Egypt can use is to make threats to close the Sues Canal... last time they did that the West was blackmailed to build for them the Aswan Dam... but it doesn't look too promising that we will be made to bend over and do that again... and one last thing "Jeremy"... the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood was suppressed for now all too obvious reasons... and for these same reason, we must destroy their wholly owned subsidiary - Hamas


by: Dr. Anika Klaus from: USA
November 16, 2012 6:28 PM
this Hamas guy looks like a Pakistani woman with a burqa... hey the US will keep making Idiotic mistakes if they continue relying on advice from such Arab imbeciles as Fouad Ajami... Vali Naser... walid phares... only in America could these assembly of self styled "experts" be consistently wrong yet be given jobs... its time a thorough vetting be given to these fools.

In Response

by: Rick from: Kelowna British Columbia
November 17, 2012 7:50 PM
I believe that the rocket ASSAULTS , 850 in the last year , against ISRAEL should be Absolutely CRUSHED
Go BiBi Do Not Hesitate
oBAma DOES NOT. DOESN"T have your back.
Rick Stanich

In Response

by: rick from: British Columbia Canada
November 17, 2012 7:19 PM
this Violence perpetrated against Israel via hamas is completely orchestrated by iran. ,in order to deflect ,and delay, Israels intention to Strike the head of the snake , which has always been iran. The latest reports from the I A E A indicate that iran is on the Threshold of major developments in their Nuclear Program . Israel is now side tracked ,and iran is on its merry way for at least a couple more months . Maybe that is all iran needs, a couple more months .

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