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Posts

Protests mount in region calling for unity against Israel

This posting has 6 items:
1) AP: Cairo protest photo caption;
2) Huffington Post: Gaza Strike: Egypt Envoy Recalled From Israel;
3) Al Ahram: Palestinians march in Ramallah to protest attacks on Gaza;
4) Anadolou Agency: Thousands of people protest Israel in Istanbul photo caption;
5) AP: Egypt recalls envoy to Israel after Gaza strike;
6) Al Jazeera: Gaza returns deadly rocket fire on Israel;




Cairo protest
Egyptians chant slogans against latest Israel airstrikes in Gaza during a protest in Cairo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Egypt has recalled its ambassador to Israel after an Israeli airstrike killed the military commander of Gaza’s ruling Hamas. In a statement read on state TV, a spokesman says that President Mohammed Morsi recalled the ambassador and has asked the Arab League’s secretary general to convene an emergency ministerial meeting in the wake of the Gaza violence. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)  See AP news, item 5 below



Gaza Strike: Egypt Envoy Recalled From Israel

By Aya Batrawy and Sarah El Deeb, AP and Huffington Post
November 14, 2012

CAIRO — Egypt’s Islamist president recalled the country’s ambassador to Israel to protest its strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after coming under mounting domestic criticism for not taking a strong enough stance against Israel.

The move may signal a shift in the way Cairo deals with Israel following last year’s popular uprising that ushered in the country’s first free presidential elections over the summer and a wave of protests since. Ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who built close ties with Egypt’s neighbor, was accused by Egyptians for refusing to bend to popular pressure for tough stands against Israel.

Ironically, his successor President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, came under similar sharp criticism earlier this week for failing to speak out after seven Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes over the weekend in retaliation for rocket attacks by Gaza militants. Secular parties and revolutionary groups on Monday held a vigil denouncing Morsi and protesting the Israeli airstrikes.

On Wednesday, Israel heightened its offensive by killing Ahmad Jabari, the commander of the Hamas military wing, in one of some 20 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in the wake of further militant rocket attacks. Ten people were killed in the assault on Gaza, two of them young children.

This prompted a protest of around 200 people in downtown Cairo on Wednesday who demanded Morsi take a stand against the Israeli attack.

“Morsi where is your decision,” they chanted. “Our leaders, enough with the silence. The people of Gaza are dying there.”

Late Wednesday, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali announced on state TV that Morsi had recalled the Egyptian ambassador.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a vocal critic of Israel, and the Palestinian Hamas militant group that rules Gaza is an offshoot of the group. Since taking office as Egypt’s first freely elected president in late June, Morsi has refused to meet or contact any Israeli officials and doesn’t even mention Israel by name in official statements.

Still, while relations have cooled, Morsi has not brought radical change in Egypt’s policy toward Israel. He has promised to abide by Egypt’s 1979 peace deal with Israel and his government has continued contacts with Israel through its non-Brotherhood members.

Israel and Egypt have quietly cooperated over an Egyptian military operation in the Sinai Peninsula against Islamic militants who have been attacking Egyptian forces and launching attacks into Israel. Morsi’s government also still tightly controls Palestinian movement through the Rafah border crossing with Gaza in the Sinai. Under Mubarak, Egypt’s backing of a blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel after Hamas won elections and later overran the territory in 2007 was highly unpopular among Egyptians.

As an elected leader, however, Morsi faces heavy pressure to reflect more strongly the widespread anti-Israeli feelings among the Egyptian public.

“Before, in Mubarak’s time, there was no response at all and they suffocated Gaza,” said Hassan Saleh, a 25 year-old education ministry official who was among those protesting in Cairo on Wednesday. “All this must change. We should allow aid in, open the crossing and hospitals and pressure Israel.”

The Brotherhood’s political party, which Morsi headed before winning the presidency, warned in a statement Wednesday that “the occupation state must realize that the changes that took place in the region, especially in Egypt, will not let the Palestinian people fall at the mercy of the Israeli aggression as was the case before.”

The party expressed condolences for al-Jabari’s death and denounced the Israeli airstrike Wednesday as a “crime that requires a quick Arab and international response to stem these massacres.” It said Israel wants to “drag the region toward instability.” They called for protests Friday to denounce the military escalation.

Egypt’s ambassador to Israel Atef Sayid al-Ahl told the semi-official Al-Akhbar newspaper he would arrive to Cairo on Thursday afternoon. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel had not received word of the recall and would not comment until it did.

Morsi also asked the Arab League’s secretary-general to convene an emergency ministerial meeting in the wake of the Gaza violence, his spokesman said. The Arab League said it would hold the emergency session on Saturday. The Foreign Ministry delivered a letter to the Israeli Embassy in Egypt expressing its “strong condemnation” of the Israeli strikes.

Egyptian military intelligence officials said Wednesday four missiles were fired from northern Sinai into Israel just south of the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The officials said they could not confirm what type or rockets were fired or where they landed inside Israel.

Islamic militants are suspected of being behind the rocket fire, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Associated Press writer Tia Goldberg contributed from Jerusalem.



Palestinians march in Ramallah to protest attacks on Gaza

By Randa Ali, Al Ahram
November 15, 2012

Palestinian flags filled the streets of Ramallah on Wednesday as hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the West Bank to voice their anger over the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza strip.

Protesters chanted for retribution for the slain, urging the Palestinian resistance forces to fire back at the Israeli army.

On Wednesday, Israel carried out a brutal attack on Gaza that left at least 7 Palestinians dead, including top Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jaabari and a four-year old girl.

“Oh Beloved Gaabary, we want to set Tel Aviv burnt down. With our blood and souls, we sacrifice everything for you, Gaza,” chanted the fuming protesters.

According to some Palestinian activists on twitter, Palestinian Authority forces stopped protesters from marching to Beit Eli, an Israeli settlement.

Abir Kopty, one of the protesters, stated via twitter that Palestinian police has arrested three of the participants.

A number of protests are scheduled to take place in various cities in Palestine on Thursday, including Haifa and Jerusalem.

Meanwhile in Cairo, hundreds marched to the ministry of foreign affairs to demand the closure of the Israeli embassy.

Another major protest in solidarity with Gaza has reportedly taken place in Istanbul, Turkey.



Thousands of people protest Israel in Istanbul

By Anadolou Agency
14 November 2012

 

Group gathered in front of Fatih Mosque and chanted slogans against Israel by saying “Murderer Israel, Get out of Palestine”.

ISTANBUL–Thousands of people protested Israel’s offensive against Gaza in Istanbul.

The group gathered in front of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul and chanted slogans against Israel by saying “Murderer Israel, Get out of Palestine”.

Bulent Yildirim, chairman of IHH Humanitarian Relief Organization, said that Islamic world showed a great reaction to Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Yildirim said that leaders of Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries should come together and assume a common stance against Israel.



Egypt recalls envoy to Israel after Gaza strike

By Aya Batrawy, AP
November 14, 2012

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s Islamist president recalled the country’s ambassador to Israel to protest its strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after coming under mounting domestic criticism for not taking a strong enough stance against Israel.

The move may signal a shift in the way Cairo deals with Israel following last year’s popular uprising that ushered in the country’s first free presidential elections over the summer and a wave of protests since. Ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who built close ties with Egypt’s neighbor, was accused by Egyptians for refusing to bend to popular pressure for tough stands against Israel.

Ironically, his successor President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, came under similar sharp criticism earlier this week for failing to speak out after seven Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes over the weekend in retaliation for rocket attacks by Gaza militants. Secular parties and revolutionary groups on Monday held a vigil denouncing Morsi and protesting the Israeli airstrikes.

On Wednesday, Israel heightened its offensive by killing Ahmad Jabari, the commander of the Hamas military wing, in one of some 20 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in the wake of further militant rocket attacks. Ten people were killed in the assault on Gaza, two of them young children.

This prompted a protest of around 200 people in downtown Cairo on Wednesday who demanded Morsi take a stand against the Israeli attack.

‘‘Morsi where is your decision,’’ they chanted. ‘‘Our leaders, enough with the silence. The people of Gaza are dying there.’’

Late Wednesday, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali announced on state TV that Morsi had recalled the Egyptian ambassador.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a vocal critic of Israel, and the Palestinian Hamas militant group that rules Gaza is an offshoot of the group. Since taking office as Egypt’s first freely elected president in late June, Morsi has refused to meet or contact any Israeli officials and doesn’t even mention Israel by name in official statements.

Still, while relations have cooled, Morsi has not brought radical change in Egypt’s policy toward Israel. He has promised to abide by Egypt’s 1979 peace deal with Israel and his government has continued contacts with Israel through its non-Brotherhood members.

Israel and Egypt have quietly cooperated over an Egyptian military operation in the Sinai Peninsula against Islamic militants who have been attacking Egyptian forces and launching attacks into Israel. Morsi’s government also still tightly controls Palestinian movement through the Rafah border crossing with Gaza in the Sinai. Under Mubarak, Egypt’s backing of a blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel after Hamas won elections and later overran the territory in 2007 was highly unpopular among Egyptians.

As an elected leader, however, Morsi faces heavy pressure to reflect more strongly the widespread anti-Israeli feelings among the Egyptian public.

‘‘Before, in Mubarak’s time, there was no response at all and they suffocated Gaza,’’ said Hassan Saleh, a 25 year-old education ministry official who was among those protesting in Cairo on Wednesday. ‘‘All this must change. We should allow aid in, open the crossing and hospitals and pressure Israel.’’

The Brotherhood’s political party, which Morsi headed before winning the presidency, warned in a statement Wednesday that ‘‘the occupation state must realize that the changes that took place in the region, especially in Egypt, will not let the Palestinian people fall at the mercy of the Israeli aggression as was the case before.’’

The party expressed condolences for al-Jabari’s death and denounced the Israeli airstrike Wednesday as a ‘‘crime that requires a quick Arab and international response to stem these massacres.’’ It said Israel wants to ‘‘drag the region toward instability.’’ They called for protests Friday to denounce the military escalation.

Egypt’s ambassador to Israel Atef Sayid al-Ahl told the semi-official Al-Akhbar newspaper he would arrive to Cairo on Thursday afternoon. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel had not received word of the recall and would not comment until it did.

Morsi also asked the Arab League’s secretary-general to convene an emergency ministerial meeting in the wake of the Gaza violence, his spokesman said. The Arab League said it would hold the emergency session on Saturday. The Foreign Ministry delivered a letter to the Israeli Embassy in Egypt expressing its ‘‘strong condemnation’’ of the Israeli strikes.



Gaza returns deadly rocket fire on Israel

Three Israelis killed by rocket fire on southern town, as wave of violence that has left 11 Palestinians dead continues.

By Al Jazeera
November 15, 2012

Three people have been killed when rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malahi, an Israeli police spokesperson has said.

The rocket attacked on Thursday was claimed by the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza, and comes amid a wave of Israeli air strikes that have killed 11 people and injured more than 100 in the territory, according to Palestinian medical sources.

“We have three killed,” spokeswoman Luba Samri told the AFP news agancy, saying four other people were also injured in a “direct hit on a house” in the town which lies 30km north of the Gaza Strip.

The fighting began when Israel assassinated Ahmed al-Jabari, head of Hamas’ military wing, with an air strike on his car in Gaza on Wednesday. Jabari’s son was also killed in the strike.

Thursday’s rocket fire on Kiryat Malahi was claimed by Jabari’s group, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, in a statement on its website.

The world reacts to the air strikes in Gaza
Israeli authorities said more than 200 rockets and mortars were fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza as of Thursday morning, and its Iron Dome interceptor had shot down 27 of the missiles.

On either side of the frontier, people fled streets for cover.

Expecting days or more of fighting, Israel warned Hamas all its men were in its sights and weathered censure from influential Arab countries with the Arab League announcing it was to hold an emergency meeting on Saturday and Egypt recalling its ambassador to Israel.

The United States condemned Hamas, shunned by the West as an obstacle to peace.

‘Clear message’
Speaking on Wedneday night, hours after a major wave of air strikes pounded targets in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, killing Ahmad al-Jaabari and at least ten other people, Netanyahu vowed that Israel would not tolerate any further rocket fire on its territory.

In the televised address on Wednesday evening, Netanyahu said: “Today we sent a clear message to Hamas and other terrorist organisations, and if it becomes necessary we are prepared to expand the operation.

“Hamas and the terror organisations have chosen to escalate their attacks on the citizens of Israel in recent days,” he said after consultations with his security cabinet.

“We will not tolerate a situation in which Israeli citizens are threatened by rocket fire.”

Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba, reporting from Gaza, said: “In the last 30 seconds there was another big blast. [The strikes] have been going on all evening.

“It is not just air strikes, but also strikes from Israeli naval ships just off the coast of Gaza.”

Baba said the streets of Gaza City on Wednesday evening were “eerily quiet, except for the sound of ambulances”.

“The latest from medical sources is that at least seven people have been killed, including two children, and at least 60 people have been wounded, including 10 children.”

‘Gates of hell’
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas headed by Jabari, issued a communique saying Israel had “opened the gates of hell on itself”, and Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said the strike was tantamount to a “declaration of war”.

“The occupation committed a dangerous crime and crossed all the red lines, which is considered a declaration of war”, he said in a statement.

“The occupation will pay dearly for this and we will make it regret the moment they thought about it.”

Hamas said it had fired at least 20 rockets into Israel in retaliation for Jabari’s killing.

Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister’s office, told Al Jazeera: “We are continuing to hit Hamas targets, and their missile sites, because we knew they would responding immediately…Ultimately we did not want this round of fighting, it was forced upon us.

“We will not allow Hamas to terrorise our civilian population. All the options are open.

“Our most important goal is to protect our people. Hamas has deliberately targeted civilians. They deliberately use Gaza civilians as human shields, too.”

Rising tensions
The strikes came after five days of rising tensions along the Gaza border which began on Saturday when Palestinian fighters fired an anti-tank rocket at an army jeep, sparking Israeli fire which killed seven.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said the strike was only the beginning of an operation with the goal of strengthening Israel’s deterrence, damage armed groups’ rocket-firing capabilities and stamp out attacks on southern Israel.

Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada: “This is an example of the lust for violence we have seen repeatedly from Israel.”

“Israel doesn’t want a war but the Hamas provocation of recent weeks, with recurring, frequent rounds of mortar and rockets fired at southern Israel, an explosive tunnel that was activated…and anti-tank fire at a jeep in Israel, forced us to act sharply and decisively,” Barak said.

“We are at the beginning, not end of this action,” he said, stressing the need to be “on high alert in Israel and West Bank… It won’t be a quick fix.. but we’ll reach goals we set for this operation.”

He urged regional leaders to act “judiciously and with a cool head to promote stability and return of quiet, and not to be dragged to their deterioration”.

The operation prompted widespread condemnation, with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi recalling Cairo’s envoy to Israel and summoning the Israeli ambassador for consultations, his spokesman said.

Following a request from Morsi, Arab League chief Nabil el-Arabi said the organisation was preparing to hold an emergency meeting over the violence.

Britain also urged restraint and Russia said it was “very concerned” about the escalation, while Washington said it was watching developments in Gaza “closely”.

Israeli army spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said the operation, code named “Pillar of Defence,” had only just begun with the air force hitting “close to 20 targets” used for launching rockets, especially those with a range of 40km, and causing “significant damage.”

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