Qatar: Israel must be punished for aggression

Updated 16 November 2012
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Qatar: Israel must be punished for aggression

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.”


Campaign fever turns into clash between Druze parties

Updated 31 min 22 sec ago
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Campaign fever turns into clash between Druze parties

  • Lebanon's independent Sabaa party talks about exploitation of positions and money.
  • Several young men from the Sabaa party demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Ministry of Interior.
BEIRUT: Sectarian and partisan polarization resulting from fierce competition for parliamentary seats in Lebanon has led to the first armed clash between two rival Druze parties.
Machine guns were used in the clash between the Progressive Socialist Party, led by MP Walid Jumblatt, and the Lebanese Democratic Party, led by Talal Arslan, which took place on Sunday evening in the city of Choueifat, about 5 km south of Beirut.
The two parties’ leaders acted quickly to calm their supporters.
“When politicians plant seeds of hatred and grudges among people, they commit a crime against citizens who have been breaking bread together for centuries,” Jumblatt said in a tweet.
In a joint statement, the two parties stressed “the need to avoid any steps that could provoke anger among supporters or disturb citizens who look forward to freely exercising their right to vote in an atmosphere of democratic competition.”
The two parties, alongside other parties with supporters in Choueifat, such as Hezbollah, the Lebanese Forces, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and the Amal Movement, have agreed on “disowning anyone who breaches security, requesting that the security forces intensify their presence in Choueifat, identifying fixed locations until the elections are over, and restraining from carrying out provocative processions.”
Campaigning lasts 24 hours before polling and has seen various kinds of violations of the electoral law.
Several young men from the Sabaa party — a group of independent activists — demonstrated on Tuesday outside the Ministry of Interior, carrying banners questioning the ministry’s role in election-related issues.
“Serious violations are taking place because the country is out of control; many are exploiting their positions and pouring (in) their money, and conflicts are happening at grassroots level — people are tearing down photos of candidates and individuals are fighting with one another,” said Gilbert Hobeish on behalf of the demonstrators.
He added: “This is unacceptable, and the minister of interior must take responsibility.”
Hobeish criticized the Electoral Supervisory Commission, saying “it only oversees the civil society or change candidates.”
“We reject this in toto,” he said.
Ali Al-Amin, a candidate on the Shbaana Haki electoral list (who was assaulted last Sunday by Hezbollah supporters in the town of Shaqra because he hung his photo outside his house), held a press conference in the town of Nabatiyah Al-Fawqa and renewed his protest against “the tyranny that silences voices, oppresses liberties and acts on its own will and temperaments, making us feel as if we were in the law of the jungle era.”
He said that “resistance isn’t anyone’s property nor is it one party’s ownership.”
He also called on “the free people of the south to decide which life they wanted and to which homeland and identity they belonged.”
Campaign fever is rising in Lebanon 48 hours before the elections are held for the first time for Lebanese communities in several Arab countries. These elections are to be held 11 days before parliamentary elections take place inside Lebanon.