‘Hamas is bringing a Nakba on Gaza’
Arabs turn on Hamas as Abbas asks: what are you trying to achieve?
THE ARAB world is increasingly turning against Hamas as the terror group rejected a ceasefire offer from Israel this week.
Commentators across the Middle East have lined up to accuse Hamas of bringing a “Nakba” (catastrophe) on the Palestinian people.
In a broadcast on the Palestinian Authority’s television channel, Ibrahim Khreisheh, the Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council, warned that the rocket attacks on Israel constituted a “crime against humanity”. He added that while Israel warned Gazans about impending attacks, the rockets fired at Israeli civilians came with no such warning.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas last week called on Hamas to end its offensive and asked on Palestine TV: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”
In one interview on Hamas’s own television channel, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri let slip: “We aren’t leading our people today to destruction, we are leading our people to death.”
In Egypt, talk show host Khaled Salah said: “Our people in Gaza must come to the realisation that such idiotic decision making… forces Gaza and its people… to pay a steep price.”
Another Egyptian TV presenter, Ahmad Mousa, criticised Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh and the Qassam rocket brigades for using civilians as human shields to launch their attacks.
“You are bringing another Nakba upon your people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have held back from pressuring the international community to act over the conflict, apparently content to see the Gaza jihadis eliminated. They see parallels with the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terror group which targets their own states.
ISRAEL was contemplating escalating its military offensive against Hamas and Islamic Jihad after the Palestinian groups rejected a ceasefire proposal backed by the Arab League, and continued to fire rockets from Gaza.
The week-and-a-half of fighting continued despite efforts by former prime minister Tony Blair and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to broker a truce on Monday. The UN also proposed a “humanitarian” ceasefire, which had been accepted by Israel but not by Hamas as the JC went to press. By mid-week, more than 200 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli air-strikes since the start of Operation Protective Edge. One Israeli was killed this week near Gaza in a mortar attack.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired around 1,300 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, most of which landed in open areas or were intercepted by Iron Dome.
The first ceasefire proposal was drafted in a phone call last weekend between Egyptian President al-Sisi and Prime Min
ister Ben- jamin Netanyahu and during meetings held by Mr Blair with leaders in the region. Israel’s security cabinet voted on Tuesday morning to accept the ceasefire; Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett voted against.
Israel ceased all its attacks at 9am local time for six hours while Hamas fired more than 40 rockets at Israeli targets. On Wednesday afternoon, the terror group’s political leaders officially rejected the proposal.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Netanyahu said that “Hamas chose to continue this campaign and it will pay the price for that decision.”
As the current air strikes are incapable of destroying many of the rocket launchers and command centres under civilian buildings, pressure within Israel to send in the troops is intensifying. If efforts to reach a ceasefire do not succeed in the next few days, the pressure on Mr Netanyahu to launch a ground offensive may prove irresistible.
Throughout the country, anxieties have been allayed by new apps such as “Red Alert”, which updates users every time a rocket is fired.
Police attempt to move antiIsrael protesters in New Delhi
Israelis take cover