‘Ha­mas is bring­ing a Nakba on Gaza’

Arabs turn on Ha­mas as Ab­bas asks: what are you try­ing to achieve?

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

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.

PHOTO: AP

Po­lice at­tempt to move an­tiIs­rael pro­test­ers in New Delhi

PHOTO: AP

Is­raelis take cover

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