Archive for Israel

Saudi lashes out at Israel on Gaza, begs Obama to step in

Posted in Christianity, Jewish History, Religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Michael Burks

RIYADH, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia accused Israel on Monday of “racist extermination” in its attack on Gaza and expressed hope that incoming U.S. president Barack Obama would work to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The cabinet said the extermination Israel is launching upon the Palestinian people in Gaza has denuded Israeli leaders of humanity and places their policies in the ranks of racist extermination,” said a statement carried by the state news agency SPA.

“The cabinet expressed its optimism over the statements of president-elect Barack Obama concerning how affected he was by the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, and his intention to move in an immediate and orderly fashion towards finding a fair resolution of the Palestinian question.”

Medical officials said the Palestinian death toll in Israeli offensive, which began on Dec. 27, had risen past 900 and included at least 380 civilians. Israel says 13 Israelis have died — three civilians hit by rockets and 10 soldiers.

Obama said on Sunday the deaths of civilians in the fighting were “heartbreaking”, and that his administration would act immediately as a third party that wants to see a fair resolution to the historic conflict.

The Saudi statement said that the cabinet “looks forward to an incoming American administration that is more serious, objective and independent in dealing with the Palestinian issue”, SPA said.

Arab governments have long complained that U.S. administrations lean towards Israel in the conflict.

Saudi Arabia has organised an aid campaign for Palestinians that has gathered over 100 million riyals ($27 million), as the government tries to respond to popular anger over the offensive while preventing street protests.

The Saudi government has refrained from explicitly blaming Hamas for the Israeli offensive, but some writers in Saudi media have attacked Hamas for aligning itself with Shi’ite power Iran. (Editing by Kevin Liffey)


Muslims fire rockets into Northern Israel

Posted in Christianity, Jewish History, Religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 8, 2009 by Michael Burks

Full Story here


JERUSALEM — The United Nations suspended its food aid deliveries into Gaza on Thursday after one of its contract drivers was killed during an Israeli attack on a delivery convoy at a border crossing, the United Nations said.

The suspension by the United Nations came after rockets were fired from Lebanon on Thursday, landing in northern Israel and raising concerns they could represent a broadening of the conflict. However, both the Israeli and Lebanese governments played down their significance as international efforts to end the 13-day war in the Gaza Strip continued with the arrival of Israeli negotiators in Cairo.

In signs of mounting diplomatic pressure on Israel, the United Nations Security Council appeared close to a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire by both sides and could vote on the resolution as early as Thursday, according to Arab diplomats. The break-through was reached after a delegation of high-ranking Arab ministers overcame the reluctance of the United States, Britain and France in calling for the cease-fire, the diplomats said.

In Cairo, egyptian officials said the Israeli officials were meeting with the head of Egyptian military intelligence, Omar Suleiman, to explore a proposal devised by Egypt and France as what officials in Paris called a road map to a cease-fire. There was no immediate word on the outcome of the talks.

As Israel’s offensive in Gaza continued with tanks on the ground in the beleaguered coastal strip and bombardment from the air, Israel again ordered a temporary lull in the fighting on Thursday to give the 1.5 million population a three-hour opportunity to seek medical help and buy supplies.

A similar pause on Wednesday enabled rescue teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross to enter some areas for the first time since Israel’s ground offensive began last weekend after days of air-strikes. In one area, the Committee reported Thursday, its representatives discovered “shocking” scenes including four children next to their mother’s corpses. The children were too weak to stand on their own, the aid organization said.

After Lebanon fiasco, Israel talks down Gaza aims

Posted in Christianity, Jewish History, Religion with tags , , , on January 5, 2009 by Michael Burks

By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent – Analysis


BEIRUT (Reuters) – Israel, pursuing ground attacks in the Gaza Strip to inflict maximum damage on Hamas before any ceasefire, has avoided setting over-ambitious goals, making it harder for its Palestinian foe to claim survival as a victory.


Hamas wants to emulate Hezbollah’s robust showing in the 2006 Lebanon war when it held off Israel’s military might for 34 days. But it lacks the strategic depth, arsenal and capabilities of the Shi’ite Islamist guerrillas, security analysts say.


But whatever its military weakness, the Islamist movement will not vanish. It will seek to fight another day, portraying its struggle to Arabs and Muslims as a beacon for resistance.


Israel’s challenge is to convert its military superiority into political and long-term security gains — without getting sucked into gritty street fighting that would risk significant military losses as well as more carnage among hapless civilians.


“The fundamental objective is to change the reality of security in the south,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday, referring to Israeli towns targeted by Hamas rockets.


A senior Israeli military official on Sunday talked of a prolonged operation “to hit Hamas infrastructure as much as we can (and) decrease the number of rockets.”


Israeli leaders have refrained from promising an end to all rocket fire from Gaza or the overthrow of Hamas rule there.


Yezid Sayigh, a Palestinian analyst at Kings College London, said Israeli leaders were avoiding the mistakes of the Lebanon war when grandiose stated objectives to destroy Hezbollah and eliminate its rocket arsenal set them up for failure.


“This doesn’t mean they won’t be flexible,” he said. “They might have a range of objectives. Depending on how things unfold, they could go for the top or the bottom of the range.


However, without a full-scale invasion of Gaza, Israel was tacitly accepting that Hamas would stay in place, Sayigh added.


Israel has said it has no intention to reoccupy the Gaza Strip. It withdrew its troops and settlers in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but kept tight control of the enclave’s borders. Hamas drove its Fatah rivals out in June 2007.


“The Israelis want to divide Gaza into slices, cut communications between them and then go for search and destroy missions, without really engaging in all-out urban warfare,” said Timur Goksel, a Beirut-based academic and former adviser to U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon.




Israeli warplanes and gunships pounded the Gaza Strip for eight days — possibly running out of pre-determined targets — before the ground incursions against Hamas. A six-month ceasefire with the Islamist movement had expired on December 19.


Sayigh said the ground troops could occupy open areas and destroy any Hamas tunnels or weapons caches there, but would have to probe into built-up areas to pursue trained fighters.