DOHA: ARAB NEWS Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani warned that Israel’s deadly raids on the Gaza Strip must not go unpunished, state news agency QNA reported yesterday.
“This vicious attack must not pass unpunished,” QNA quoted the premier as saying at a meeting of GCC nations and Russia.
“The UN Security Council must take up its responsibility to secure peace and security in the world,” he said, adding the latest escalation of violence in Gaza is likely to “promote extremism.”
“We reject extremism and terrorism but such irresponsible and unjustified attacks must be condemned by the world,” he said.
Warplanes pounded Gaza for a second day yesterday as three Israelis were killed when a Palestinian rocket struck a house. Thirteen Palestinians have also died since Wednesday.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned as “organized terrorism” the Israeli operation. Iran “strongly condemns the criminal act of Zionist (Israeli) military forces in killing civilians,” ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in remarks published on the website of state broadcaster IRIB.
Mehmanparast said the offensive amounted to “organized terrorism” in the face of what he called “silence of international organizations.”
“Unfortunately the massacre of innocent and defenseless Palestinians has become a routine procedure adopted by the Zionist regime,” he said.
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said Israel’s attacks were “unacceptable” and would destabilize the region, in a televised address to the nation yesterday.
It was Mursi’s starkest rhetoric targeting the Jewish state since he took office in June.
“We are in contact with the people of Gaza and with Palestinians and we stand by them until we stop the aggression and we do not accept under any circumstances the continuation of this aggression on the Strip,” Mursi said.
“The Israelis must realize that this aggression is unacceptable and would only lead to instability in the region and would negatively and greatly impact the security of the region,” he said.
Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal condemned the killing of Ahmed Al-Jabari and vowed to continue the “resistance” against Israel.
“Men and women in Palestine, we will continue the resistance,” Meshaal said at a meeting of Islamic leaders in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
Israel will never defeat Gaza, Meshaal said. “This enemy is weak and cannot vanquish Gaza.”
Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas has cut short a trip to Europe to deal with the crisis.
Palestinian official Saeb Erekat says Abbas canceled planned meetings in Switzerland yesterday to rush back to the West Bank.
Erekat harshly condemned Israel’s military operation, saying the Palestinians “hold Israel fully responsible for the consequences of this act of aggression.”
Russia yesterday condemned Israel’s “disproportionate” use of force in air strikes while calling on Palestinian militants to halt firing rockets.
“Attacks on the south of Israel and the disproportionate strikes on Gaza — especially when civilians are killed on both sides — are completely unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.
The Russian official stressed that the violence was especially dangerous because it came against the backdrop of existing regional instability linked to the conflict in Syria and last year’s war in Libya.
Lukashevich said Israel and the Palestinians were now pursuing a course that could lead to still further bloodshed between them while threatening to degenerate into a broader conflict. “We strongly appeal on all the involved parties to immediately end their armed confrontation and to keep the conflict from resulting in still further bloodshed.”