Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arab Leaders, Civilians Blame HAMAS for Gaza Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 30, 2008
Marcus Sheff: 011-972-2-6236427, marcuss@theisraelproject.org
Leah Soibel: 011-972-2-6236427, leahs@theisraelproject.org

Arab Leaders, Civilians Blame Hamas for Gaza Violence
Israeli City of Beersheba Hit by Gaza Rockets

Alert: The conference call with former UN Amb. Danny Gillerman scheduled for Dec. 31, 2008 has been postponed. Details to follow.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor MP3 recording (Dec. 30conference call)Israeli Govt. Spokesman Mark Regev transcript and MP3 recording (Dec. 29 conference call)Royalty-free photos Video: Palestinian girl says Hamas responsible for war Videos from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs IDF YouTube Channel Humanitarian Aid into Gaza List of Sderot and Area Contacts Available for Comment
Iran Press Kit

Sderot home hit by a rocket fired from Gaza
(Yehuda Peretz for The Israel Project)

UPDATE: Iran-backed Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched two rockets at the Israeli city of Beersheba Tuesday (Dec 30). One of the rockets struck a kindergarten. Beersheba - which lies 26 miles (42 km) from Gaza - is the easternmost Israeli city ever hit by Gaza rockets. [1]

As Israel carries out "Operation Cast Lead" to stop Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza from continuing to attack Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars, Arab leaders such as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have blamed Hamas for the violence in Gaza.

Abbas and Mubarak, among others, said maintaining the truce could have helped the Palestinians avoid the Israeli raids and that Hamas is fully responsible for the situation.
Palestinian Authority Leaders and Gaza Civilians

On Dec. 28, 2008, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Iran-backed Hamas could have avoided the Israeli attacks on Gaza and blamed the group for Israel taking action to stop the attacks by Hamas in Gaza: "We talked to them and we told them 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop' so that we could have avoided what happened." [2] Abbas further stated that the priority was to restore the truce [3]

A Palestinian girl in Gaza whose family members died in Gaza Dec. 28 in an Israeli air attack held Hamas responsible. "I say Hamas is the cause, in the first place, of all wars," the girl told Palestinian TV. [4]

MEDIA SHOW BIZ! A Palestinian journalist in Gaza said members of the Palestinian media are 'directing' civilians to cry and telling them what to say in interviews: "A mother of one of the martyrs stood by the door of the intensive care unit while crying... relatives and those around her were telling her what she should say to the television cameras: 'Say your son [before he died] prayed and went out.' Another tells her: 'Curse the Arab leaders'... The journalists [in the hospitals] are going overboard in their insensitivity and taking advantage of the [difficult] moments, with the explanation that they are showing this to the world. One cameraman told a mourning mother: 'Hit your face, cry, do some action.'" [5]

Abbas also blamed Hamas for disrupting national unity talks that could have paved the way for general and presidential elections. While visiting Cairo to discuss Egyptian and Arab League efforts to put an end to the violence in Gaza, Abbas said: "We have warned of this grave danger." [6]
Nimr Hammad, an advisor to Abbas, said: "The one responsible for the massacre is Hamas […]." He called upon Hamas's leaders to stop carrying out "operations, which reflect recklessness, such as the firing of missiles." [7]
Hafez Al-Barghouthi, editor of the PLO daily al-Hayat al-Jadida criticized Hamas for not prolonging the 'tahdiah' - Arabic for 'calm': "Prolonging the tahdiah was a supreme national interest. Why hasn't [Hamas] prevented the aggression and the massacre? How many times have we written and Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) has declared that these missiles [that Hamas is firing at Israel] as ineffective and contrary to the supreme national interest […]." [8]
Egypt and Jordan

On Dec. 23, 2008, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. Both leaders strongly criticized Hamas and held the movement responsible for the current violence in Gaza. The two leaders agreed that the rocket attacks on Israel were a "mistake" and said Hamas was responsible for the ongoing suffering of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. [9]

A PA official quoted Mubarak: "President Mubarak is very angry with Hamas. The Egyptians see Hamas as a threat to stability in the region." [10]

Egypt, which has taken on the role of mediator between Israel and the Palestinians as well as between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah faction, has been criticized for coordinating with Israel to close the border between Gaza and Egypt. [11] On Dec. 27, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing to receive wounded Palestinians but Hamas called on Egypt to open its border with Gaza forever and for all residents, not just the wounded. [12]

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu al-Gheit said Egypt has warned Hamas that Israel would initiate operations against Hamas unless Hamas stops its Qassam rocket attacks. He added that those who did not heed the warning "should bear the responsibility." He further said Egypt had predicted Israel's response to the attacks "because Hamas did not stop firing rockets into Israel." [13]

Al-Gheit said Hamas was not allowing wounded Palestinians to cross the border into Egypt for treatment: "We are waiting for the wounded Palestinians to cross. They are not being allowed to cross." Asked who was to blame, he refered to Gaza by saying, "Ask the party in control on the ground in Gaza." [14]

Egypt and other Western-allied Sunni Arab states are opposed to the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hizballah, as they see both groups as extensions of Shiite Iran. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the silence of some Arab countries and said: "Worse than this catastrophe is the encouraging silence of some Arab countries who claim to be Muslim," apparently in a reference to Egypt and Jordan. [15] Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states recognizing Israel's independence and which have diplomatic relations with it. [16]
Arab nations' summit

ISRAEL AT FAULT. Arab foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Jan. 2, 2009 under the auspices of the Arab League to "formulate the Arab position to deal with Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip," Arab League Chairman Amr Moussa said on Dec. 27, 2008. At the upcoming meeting, "some will call on Egypt and Jordan to cut diplomatic relations with Israel," said Abdel Monem Said Ali of the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies. [17]


[1] JPost.com staff; Selig, Abe, "Widening range, rockets strike Beersheba kindergarten," The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 30, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456524549&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull; "International call for Gaza truce," BBC News

[2] Shahine, Alaa: "Palestinians could have avoided Gaza raids – Abbas," Reuters, Dec. 28, 2008, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LS259958.htm

[3] "Abbas blames Hamas for failing to avert violence," Reuters, Dec. 28, 2008, http://www.france24.com/en/20081228-abbas-says-he-tried-continue-truce-avoid-violence-gaza-israel

[4] "A Palestinian girl whose family members were killed yesterday in Gaza," Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin, Dec. 2008, http://www.pmw.org.il/Bulletins_Dec2008.htm#b2912083

[5] Ibid.

[6] "Abbas blames Hamas for Gaza bloodshed," The Nation, Dec. 28, 2008, http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/International/29-Dec-2008/Abbas-blames-Hamas-for-Gaza-bloodshed

[7] "PLO and Fatah Officials: Hamas is Responsible for the Deaths of Its People," MEMRI, Dec. 29, 2008, http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD216408

[8] Ibid.

[9] Abu Toameh, Khaled; Katz, Yaakov, "Abbas: Egypt to push new Gaza truce," The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 24, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1229868830574&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[10] Ibid.

[11] "Across Mideast, thousands protest Israeli assault," The Associated Press, Dec. 28, 2008, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081228/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_mideast_israel_palestinians

[12] "Egyptian border under pressure as Israeli raids on Gaza continues," Xinhua, Dec. 28, 2008, http://english.sina.com/world/2008/1228/207787.html

[13] "Egypt lays blame on Hamas," iReport, Dec. 28, 2008, http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-169684

[14] Shahine, Alaa, "Egypt: Hamas denying Gaza wounded treatment in Egypt," Reuters, Dec. 28, 2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE4BR0QP20081228

[15] El-Khodary, Taghreed; Kershner, Isabel, "Israeli Troops Mass Along Border; Arab Anger Rises," The New York Times, Dec. 28, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/world/middleeast/29mideast.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

[16] Abilov, Shamkhal, "Israel Air Strike Against Gaza and Reaction of Arab World," The Journal of Turkish Weekly, Dec. 29, 2008, http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/62525/israel-air-strike-against-gaza-and-reaction-of-arab-world.html

[17] Gazzar, Brenda, "Egypt: Hizbullah declared war on us," The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 28, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456503819&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

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