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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More