News / Middle East

World Reacts to Israel’s Gaza Campaign

Israeli soldiers walk towards a staging area outside the Gaza Strip, July 18, 2014.
Israeli soldiers walk towards a staging area outside the Gaza Strip, July 18, 2014.
VOA News

Israel’s advance into Gaza continued Friday evening. Reuters quoted Palestinian health officials saying 35 Palestinians, including three children and a 70-year-old woman, have been killed since Israel sent ground forces into Gaza late Thursday. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF ) say they destroyed 21 Hamas rocket launchers and at least four tunnels used by Hamas to enter Israel from Gaza, and warn they may “significantly widen” their operations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the escalation of its Operation Protective Edge on Thursday.

Shortly afterwards, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon expressed regret that an “already dangerous conflict” had escalated further and against appeals for restraint from the world body and many international leaders.

“I urge Israel to do far more to stop civilian casualties. There can be no military solution to this conflict,” Ban said. 

U.S. reaction

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday said he supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but expressed concern about an escalation of violence.

Earlier, the U.S. condemned Hamas for indiscriminate rocket attacks and called on Israel to “take every possible step” to protect Palestinian civilians.

“I think the Secretary [of State]’s view is very much that the absence of a two-state solution leaves a vacuum that is often filled by violence,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporter at a briefing Thursday.  “Of course, our focus in the immediate terms is achieving a successful ceasefire that will bring an end to the violence, bring an end to the civilian casualties. And any two-state solution will require the parties to be willing to make the tough choices they haven’t been willing to make to date.”

EU concern

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius traveled to Cairo Friday as part of a diplomatic effort to promote a ceasefire in Gaza.  On the eve of his visit, he said France is “extremely concerned” by Israel’s offensive and called on the latter to show the “utmost restraint.”  Fabius met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the Cairo airport, where Abbas urged Fabius to engage Turkey and Qatar in pressuring Hamas to accept a truce with Israel. 

However, Hamas says it won’t accept any cease-fire that doesn’t end Israel’s blockade on Gaza. 

Fabius will travel to Israel Saturday evening, in the wake of similar visits by diplomats from Germany, Italy and Norway. 

At the close of an EU summit in Brussels Wednesday, EU leaders issued a statement condemning Hamas for firing of rockets into Israel and urging Israel to “act proportionately and ensure the protection of civilians at all times.”  The Council also called on Hamas to accept an Egypt-brokered cease-fire.

 U.S. media

In an editorial in Thursday’s New York Times, International Crisis Group senior analyst Nathan Thrall blamed the current crisis on Israel’s failure to support reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. 

“Israel immediately sought to undermine the reconciliation agreement by preventing Hamas leaders and Gaza residents from obtaining the two most essential benefits of the deal: the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants who worked for the Hamas government and continue to administer Gaza under the new one, and the easing of the suffocating border closures imposed by Israel and Egypt that bar most Gazans’ passage to the outside world.” 

The Los Angeles Times reiterated both Israel and Hamas political narratives, concluding, “Both sides' arguments have some merit, but they don't move the situation toward a solution.”  The Times also urged the United States to remain engaged in the Middle East.

Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer places blame squarely on Palestinian militants:   “Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.”

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs