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Tag: palestine cause

Israel must “flatten Gaza” like the US flattened Japan, says Sharon’s son

“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

 

A chilling article by Gilad Sharon, son of the former Israeli prime minister, in the Jerusalem Post.
By George Eaton Published 19 November 2012 7:32

 

Palestinians search the debris of a destroyed home following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. Photograph: Getty Images.

 

If you want some indication of how extreme parts of Israeli political opinion have become, then read the chilling piece by Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, in today’s Jerusalem Post.

After writing that the civilians of Gaza “are not innocent” since they elected Hamas, Sharon declares:

“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

While Sharon’s invocation of Hiroshima is shocking, he isn’t the first prominent figure to make the comparison between Gaza and Japan. Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister and the leader of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu (which recently merged with Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud) said in January 2009, during the last major Israeli assault on Gaza, that Israel

“must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II. Then, too, the occupation of the country was unnecessary.”

It was, of course, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that enabled the US to avoid an occupation. Would Israel ever consider the same solution? It sounds unthinkable, but Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed in October 2009 that Lieberman “had threatened to use nuclear weapons against Gaza” (see the final line of this Guardian report).

Further evidence of the mindset of those currently leading Israel was supplied by Eli Yishai, the country’s deputy prime minister, who declared at the weekend: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.”

 

SOURCE:  New Statesman

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2012/11/israel-must-flatten-gaza-us-flattened-japan-says-sharons-son

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Obama to PM: Green Light, But Watch Out for Civilians

“U.S. President Obama and EU Foreign Policy chief Ashton both expressed understanding, if not support, for Israel’s operation in Gaza”

 

By David Lev
First Publish: 11/15/2012, 8:59 AM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90 (click for sourcepage)

So far, the world’s leaders seem to be backing Israel’s defensive action in Gaza. U.S. President Barack H. Obama and EU Foreign Policy chief Katherine Ashton both expressed understanding, if not support, for Israel’s situation, and for the need to break the back of Hamas and other Gaza terror groups that have rained thousands of rockets over the heads of Israelis in the Negev for the past decade.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke to Obama early Thursday, in which “the President reiterated to Prime Minister Netanyahu the United States’ support for Israel’s right to self defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians,” a White House statement said. “The President urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties.”

The statement said Obama and Netanyahu agreed that Hamas needed to stop attacks on Israel to “allow the situation to de-escalate.” Obama and Netanyahu spoke after the Israeli leader, who has had a rocky relationship with the current US administration, briefed Vice President Joe Biden on the latest events in Gaza.

Obama also spoke with Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi, stressing Egyp’s “central role in preserving regional security,” the White House said. “In their conversation, President Obama condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense,” the White House statement said.

The UN Security Council, at an emergency closed session, discussed the situation in Gaza without coming to any decisions. But during the meeting, U.S. Ambassador to the UN strongly defended Israel, saying that said there was no justification for the violence that “Hamas and other terrorist organizations” are aiming at Israel.

“We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately,” Rice said, adding that the rocket attacks were harming efforts to end the Middle East conflict and create a PA state. “Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause,” said the US ambassador, who is considered a frontrunner to become the next US secretary of state. “Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza nor to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination and independence,” Rice said.

 

Update: Egypt closes Rafah crossing

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing after the Israeli occupation forces targeted the Palestinian side of the crossing with two missiles that exploded next to it. Israeli forces have escalated attacks on the border and targeted the tunnels on the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip.

Reuters

The city of Rafah witnessed a state of panic due to the explosions, with many shops and businesses closing early.

Earlier on Thursday evening Presidential Spokesperson Yasser Ali announced that President Mohamed Morsy has instructed Prime Minister Hesham Qandil to head a high-level delegation to the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Qandil’s visit to Gaza will emphasize Egypt’s solidarity with the people of Gaza in the face of brutal Israeli aggression, Ali said, as well as meet the urgent needs of the Palestinian people.

“The Egyptian leadership informed us that Prime Minister Hesham Qandil will visit Gaza tomorrow, accompanied by a number of ministers. We welcome this visit and appreciate this courageous stand,” Hamas spokesperson Taher al-Nunu told AFP.

The visit “confirms the support of the Egyptian leadership, government, and people for the Palestinian people in the shadow of the Israeli war against them in Gaza,” he added, saying Qandil would meet Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh.

The Health Ministry announced on Thursday the formation of a joint central operations room in collaboration with the Pharmacists and Doctors Syndicates, to treat injured Palestinians in Gaza.

Amgad Amin of the Pharmacists Syndicate in Cairo told Al-Masry Al-Youm that head of the syndicate Mohamed Abdel Gawad is now in the Gaza Strip leading a delegation of pharmacists.

Israeli media outlets reported that Egypt’s ambassador to Israel Atef Salem al-Ahl left Tel Aviv on Thursday. Cairo recalled the ambassador on Wednesday after a series of Israeli air strikes on Gaza killed Jabari and others, President Mohamed Morsy’s spokesperson said in a terse statement. Ahmed al-Helali, a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that it was essential that the Egyptian ambassador not return to Israel as long as the attacks continue. He called on all revolutionary forces to unite to support Palestinian resistance.

Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Yaakov Amitai left Cairo on Wednesday after being summoned by the Egyptian foreign ministry, state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported. However, Reuters quoted an Israeli diplomat in Jerusalem on Wednesday as saying that Amitai had returned to Israel before Tel Aviv launched its assault on the Gaza Strip.

Egypt’s official news agency MENA quoted an informed diplomatic source as saying that contrary to several reports, Egypt did not ask the Israeli ambassador to leave. Over the last year, the ambassador usually spends the weekend in Israel, leaving on Thursday and returning on Sunday. He said it is not certain whether he will return on Sunday or not.

He went on to say that there are several steps Egypt can take in response to the brutal aggression on Gaza.

“It may be sufficient to summon the ambassador from Tel Aviv for consultation, a step less severe than withdrawing him,” he said. “The difference is when you summon the ambassador for consultation, it will be for a limited period and it is known that he will return within days. But when you start with withdrawing the ambassador, it means that Egypt has chosen the strongest option from the beginning.”

If the attack continues and there are more casualties, according to the diplomat, it will be possible that the Israeli ambassador to Egypt becomes persona non grata, or is expelled. Both have the same result in legal terms, he explained, but expulsion would constitute a stronger statement diplomatically.

The next step, he says, would be to freeze relations. Countries usually start with freezing economic relations, and this is usually associated with an escalation before a declaration of war. In this case, the potential impact on economic relations with the United States must be closely studied.

This is merely theoretical talk about the options available, the diplomatic source said, stressing that he does not have specific information about what steps will be taken.

Hundreds of protesters rallied in front of the Arab League in Cairo against the Israeli assault on Gaza Thursday, chanting slogans and carrying Palestinian flags, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

In televised remarks earlier Thursday, President Mohamed Morsy rejected what he called Israel’s aggression in Gaza, saying it threatened to destabilize the region, while Cairo called on the US to stop Israel’s strikes.

“The Israelis must understand that we do not accept this aggression, which could lead to instability in the region,” Morsy said, as Israeli air forces pummeled Gaza and militants fired rockets back in a deadly tit for tat.

In an earlier telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr “called on the United States to immediately intervene to bring to an end the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement.

“As long as the Israeli aggression continues, the situation will worsen in a way that will make it uncontrollable,” Amr told Clinton late Wednesday.

He called on Washington to “use its contacts with Israel to bring to an end this aggression.”

The Suez Canal Authority has denied reports that it prevented the passage of Israeli ships according to several news sources.

Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, previously withdrew its ambassador after a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, when President Hosni Mubarak was still in power.

Morsy, an Islamist elected in June after Mubarak’s overthrow in 2011, has promised to take a harder line on Israel than his predecessor, who was accused of doing little to stop the Jewish state’s devastating assault on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009.

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, German news agency DPA reported.

“Work would resume on both sides of the border in order to be ready for the arrival of any injured Palestinians so they could be transferred to Arish Public Hospital, which is ready to receive them,” a security source told DPA.

Also on Thursday morning, Major General Mohamed Refaat Shehata, head of the Egyptian intelligence services, returned to Cairo from Turkey to follow up on recent developments in Gaza.

Sources told DPA that Shehata arrived from Istanbul on Thursday, cutting his trip to discuss bilateral cooperation between Egypt and Turkey short. An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between Hamas and Israel failed Wednesday following the Israeli assassination of Ahmed al-Jabary, the commander of Hamas’s Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades.

Shehata is expected to attempt to negotiate a new truce between Israel and Hamas, as he had played an important role in securing the original ceasefire. Cairo often plays a mediator role between Israel and Hamas whenever violence erupts between the two sides.

Tight security measures have been taken in South Sinai Governorate, particularly focusing on the main roads entering the area and on the border regions of Taba and Negev, in anticipation of any jihadist elements attempts to attack Israeli tourists.

An official source in Taba land port said that Israeli tourists have increasingly chosen not to holiday in Taba anyway, despite tourist resort offers. Sami Salman, head of the Association of Taba and Nuweiba Investors, said the current events will affect tourism in all of Sinai.

SOURCE: http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/update-egypt-closes-rafah-crossing