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Qatar Accuses Israel of 'War Crime' in Gaza

Reports by Mehr News Agency, Tehran

The emir of Qatar on Sunday accused the Tel Aviv regime of committing a "war crime" in Gaza and renewed a call for an extraordinary Arab summit. "The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip is a war crime," Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said in a televised address.

by Hugo Sotana, Brazil
Source: International Gaza Cartoon Contest

He renewed an earlier call on fellow Arab leaders to hold an extraordinary summit in support of Gaza, as Israel escalated its offensive on Gaza which has killed more than 515 Palestinians, among them civilians.

"The mobilization on the Arab street and several peace movements in the world have proven that this is the least the people expect from us. I believed and still do that we can do something," the emir noted.

"The horrors befalling the Gaza Strip oblige the (Arab) nation and its leaders to move," AFP quoted him as saying.

Qatar is the only Arab country in the Persian Gulf region which has trade relations with Israel.


Malaysia calls for UN special meeting on Gaza

Malaysia on Monday called on the United Nations to convene a special general assembly meeting to seek ways to end the Israeli atrocities against Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the UN special general assembly could be held on the premise of "unity for peace", Bernama news agency reported.

Abdullah said Malaysia's permanent representative to the UN had been instructed to initiate discussions with contact groups of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to get the UN to convene the special general assembly.

"The world must firmly express itself and demand a resolution of the issue," the prime minister noted.

Abdullah said only a special general assembly could negate any improper action of the United States.

The United States thwarted an effort by the UN Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after Israel launched a ground invasion.

The emergency meeting, called by France, was the latest failed attempt at finding a diplomatic solution at the UN. The Security Council has already met three times since the war began.

As Israel's closest ally, Washington has regularly vetoed Security Council resolutions it sees as too critical of the Tel Aviv regime.

Israel began massive air strikes on the Gaza Strip on December 27. The regime's ground troops also invaded the coastal strip on Saturday night. So far, more than 500 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed in the raids.

Abdullah said the proposed special general assembly meeting would allow for the arguments and decisions of all governments to be heard and considered.

"I hope the United States and its allies will not impede efforts to convene the special general assembly," the prime minister remarked.

He said the United States had not shown itself to be a responsible major power.

"The United States has the capacity to and can stop the atrocities but they have chosen other options," he said.

"Worse still, the United States has blocked a UN resolution. This move is something which the world community cannot have respect for."

Abdullah said Israel had another motive than its excuse that it was responding to rocket fired by Hamas fighters.

"Israel seems to want to obliterate Palestine. There is a hidden agenda," he warned.

Seven members of a family killed in Gaza

Israeli troops and tanks continued to push deeper into Gaza on Monday as the Tel Aviv regime rebuffed diplomatic efforts to end the war. The Israeli troops are backed by air and naval forces.

Israel Radio reported street fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas resistance fighters in the streets of Gaza City on Monday.

According to witnesses, Hamas fighters still continued to fire rockets at southern Israel.

Gaza residents are facing severe power food and water and shortages.

Due to Israeli shellfire seven members of a family died and three children perished in a separate incident, Reuters reported on Monday.

The Arab and Muslim people are losing patience over Israel's war. Massive rallies were held in Istanbul and Beirut and a number of European capitals.

The leaders of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, which all have diplomatic ties with Israel, have called the attacks as disproportionate and called for an end to the offensive.

Hamas had warned that Israeli ground troops would find themselves trapped.

Most of the fighting was taking place in northern and eastern Gaza, in areas not far from the Israeli border. But at least five civilians were killed and many wounded on Sunday when Israeli shells or rockets landed in the market of Gaza City while people were stocking up on supplies, the New York Times reported.

The rockets from Gaza continued Monday after some 45 hit Israel on Sunday, including the city of Sderot, where Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York was visiting. He was rushed to a safe area when the alert sounded.


Mahathir calls for boycott of U.S. products for backing Israel

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday called for a global boycott of the U.S. dollar and U.S.-made products, including Coca-Cola, in protest over Washington's support for Israel, AFP reported.

"If you stop accepting U.S. currency, the U.S. can't trade and can't make any money, it will become very poor and it will have to stop the production of more and more weapons in order to kill people," Mahathir told a press conference.

"We should not be buying all these weapons from the U.S., we can buy from the Russians if we must have aeroplanes and things like that," he added.

"People must act... they won't die if they don't drink Coca-Cola."

On Saturday, the U.S. blocked efforts by UN Security Council to call on Israel to stop launching air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip that has so far left at least 510 Palestinians dead, many of them civilians.

The former Malaysian leader said he did not expect a new U.S. approach toward Israel under Barack Obama who will be sworn in on January 20.

"I don't think there will be much change with regards to the policy of Israel. As you know, Obama went to Israel and asked for their support because a lot of voters in America are Jews," he said.


U.S. Senate backs Israel's raids on Gaza

The U.S. Senate has thrown its back behind the Israeli regime's air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, a war which has so far led to the death of at least 100 civilians.

Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin - the top two Democrats in the chamber - and Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell said Israel's actions are "understandable", the Jerusalem Post reported.

They said U.S. would do the same if "terrorists" were firing missiles into the U.S. from across America's borders.

The lawmakers made their comments on the Sunday television talk shows.

Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that Israel did not seek U.S. approval before ground invasion into Gaza.

Israeli ground troops and tanks roared through the Gaza Strip, cutting the coastal territory into two. The move came after days of massive air assault on the territory.


Iran's Larijani says Israel cannot determine the fate of Gaza war

TEHRAN, Jan. 5 (Mehr News Agency) - Iranian Parliament speaker Ali Larijani has said though Israel has started the war against Gaza it cannot determine its fate.

Larijani also predicted the Gaza war may find a destiny like the 33-day war with Lebanon.

"Though Zionists are the starter of the war they will not be the ones who end it," Larijani noted.

The top lawmaker also said Israelis are behaving more cruelly than the German Nazis during the Second World War.

"Israelis' behavior is worse than Nazis."


Iran seeks to set up field hospital near Egypt's border with Gaza

TEHRAN, Jan. 5 (Mehr News Agency) - The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that Tehran is awaiting a response from Cairo to set up a field hospital near the Egyptian border with Gaza to treat Palestinians injured in the Israeli raids.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has written a letter to his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Aboul Gheit asking the Cairo government to allow Iran to establish a field hospital near the Gaza Strip.

"Now, we are awaiting Cairo's response to the letter," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told a news briefing.

Regarding the "depth of the tragedy" in Gaza which has affected the whole world Iran expects all countries especially Arab states "particularly Egypt" to help alleviate the sufferings of the Gaza people, the spokesman noted.

Egypt is the only Arab country which border Gaza.

Iranian FM discusses Gaza with European counterparts

TEHRAN, Jan. 5 (Mehr News Agency) -- On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki phoned his Spanish, Portuguese, Swiss, and Czech counterparts that Europe must take steps to end the critical condition in Gaza.

The Czech Republic took over the European Union presidency on January 1.

Mottaki told top European diplomats that any ceasefire in Gaza must be dependent on ending the Gaza siege.

Mottaki declared that while many people around the world are celebrating New Year celebrations the Gazans are facing the bloodiest genocide in the current century.

He stated that the Israel's massive air strikes on Gaza are not comparable with missile attacks fired by Hamas and other Palestinian groups which are of defensive nature. He said the world public opinion holds different views about the actions of the two sides.

The top Iranian diplomat said that Israel will never achieve its goal of eliminating Hamas because "Hamas is a nation and a nation cannot be eliminated".

He insisted that in the 33-day Lebanon war the Zionist regime couldn't achieve its goal too and it should learn from that experience.

"The only expectation from all countries is that they use all their efforts to find a logical and acceptable way to end the bloody and unequal war in Gaza" and open the routes for humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza residents.

The Iranian official called Israel's ground attacks on the Gaza Strip a "strategic mistake" and insisted that the ceasefire must be linked to halting air and ground invasions and unfreezing the blockade of the Gaza enclave.

The European foreign ministers called for an immediate ceasefire and insisted that the UN Security Council must intervene to declare a truce.

"The European Union is trying to contact the influential and important sides in order to abandon the war," the European chief diplomats stated.

... Payvand News - 01/05/09 ... --

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