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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid