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UN chief calls for ceasefire as Israel pounds Hamas targets

2008-12-30 00:46:46

Our Comments

This is a shame, violence against civilians should be condoned regardless of the religious background of the people or nation involved.

The bottom line and facts are this:

1.) Hamas was elected, the world may not like Hamas but they demanded democracy but aren't happy with this
2.) Israel has purposely and willfully committed war crimes and killed thousands of civilians yet is never criticized
3.) Israel claims these attacks are aimed at Hamas, yet they always act to harm as many civilians as possible (just look at the comments of their leaders). 
4.) Palestinians have been subjected to terrorism by Israel as a nation for decades, and each day Israeli settlers use violence against Palestinians (yet this is never published in the media for some reason......)
5.) Look at who is dying, Palestinians are being killed, maimed and injured in disproportionate numbers.
6.) There was never any violence between Muslims and Jews for over 1000 years, until the British created the conflict in the region, and Palestinians were forced from their homes

Israel and the world cannot keep hiding behind "Hamas is a terrorist organization".  How can Hamas be considered a terrorist organization while Israel has a history of purposely targetting Palestinian civilians?

The evidence should be clear with the UN finally calling for a cease fire.  This is a typical case of the victim being blamed for striking back when they are being killed and attacked each day, yet the bully is never blamed.

Anyone with a heart, should see the one-sided views shown in the media, are really based on the religious ideals of a group of extremists of Christian and Jewish background.

Notice how George Bush and Stephen Harper often refer to Israel as "her".  This is an allusion to the Biblical prophecy about Israel, where the promised Messiah will return only after the apocalypse and when Israel is in the control of Jews.

This is the reason for the entire conflict, where essentially Palestinians want their land back, while the other groups have extremist and religious agendas which have resulted in unspeakable casulaties around the world in numerous unnecessary and religiously motivated violence.

It would be nice to see people of other faiths condoning violence as so many Muslims have always done.  Regardless of your faith, violence and killing is wrong, yet when Muslims are being killed, you will be hard pressed to hear those words being spoken by certain people, who only complain when Muslims commit acts of violence (even if in self defence).

We hope there will be a resolution, but it's not likely until the world recognizes that Muslims have the right not to be attacked and killed by Israel, and that Israel's supporters and very existence is a quagmire of religious extremism from people of other faiths.

Full Article:

UN chief calls for ceasefire as Israel pounds Hamas targets

Last Updated: Monday, December 29, 2008 | 9:53 PM ET Comments1198Recommend163

Palestinians gather around the ruins of a building after an Israeli missile strike hit the home of a Hamas member in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Monday.Palestinians gather around the ruins of a building after an Israeli missile strike hit the home of a Hamas member in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Monday. (Fadi Adwan/Associated Press)UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on both Israel and Hamas to stop the violence as Israeli air strikes pounded Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, but bombs continued to fall Tuesday morning.

Ban said Monday he was "troubled and concerned" by the situation and "deeply alarmed" by the escalating violence.

With the Israeli city of Ashkelon in the background, an Israeli missile explodes in the Gaza Strip on Monday.With the Israeli city of Ashkelon in the background, an Israeli missile explodes in the Gaza Strip on Monday. (Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press)

The UN chief said he has repeatedly condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas militants against Israel and "the excessive use of force of Israel in Gaza."

"The frightening nature of what is happening on the ground, in particular its effects on children, who are more than half of the population, troubles me greatly," he said.

"All this must stop. Both Israel and Hamas must halt their acts of violence and take all necessary measures to avoid civilian casualties. A ceasefire must be declared immediately."

Ban's comments came as speculation mounted that Israel was preparing to launch a large-scale ground offensive in the area and as the country's defence minister declared an "all-out war" with the militant group.

Israeli aircraft dropped at least 16 bombs on five Hamas government buildings in a Gaza City complex on Tuesday, destroying them, witnesses said. Rescue workers said 40 people were injured.

On Monday, Israeli air strikes destroyed a five-storey building in the women's wing at Islamic University, one of the most prominent Hamas symbols, a compound controlled by Preventive Security, one of the group's chief security arms, and a house next to the residence of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Reporting from the Israeli/Gaza border, CBC's Peter Armstrong said dozens of tanks have been assembled. Israel has also doubled the number of troops on the Gaza border since Saturday and deployed an artillery battery.

The three-day death toll from the attacks reached 364, according to Palestinian officials, with more than 1,400 wounded.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said at least 62 of the dead were civilians.

A medium-range rocket fired at the Israeli city of Ashkelon killed a man Monday and wounded several others. It was the second fatality in Israel since the beginning of the offensive and the first rocket-related death in the city, the Associated Press reported.

Despite the more than 300 Israeli air attacks over the weekend, more than 100 rockets and mortar rounds have been fired out of Gaza and into southern Israel since the Israeli operation began.

Armstrong said Hamas had launched only a smattering of rockets on Sunday, but had intensified its attacks on Monday.

Palestinians gather next to a building used by the Islamic group Hamas after it was hit in an Israeli missile strike in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip, on Monday.Palestinians gather next to a building used by the Islamic group Hamas after it was hit in an Israeli missile strike in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip, on Monday. (Hatem Moussa/Associated Press)

"We've seen more rockets and mortars fired out of Gaza into southern Israel than we saw through the day yesterday. Clearly the response from Hamas is now beginning to really start to increase. There was a lot of questions yesterday as to why Hamas was not firing as many rockets."

Also on Monday, Israel declared the areas abutting the Gaza Strip a closed military zone, barring civilians and journalists from the region. The buffer zone ranges from two to four kilometres around Gaza.

An Israeli military spokesperson told Reuters the closure was due to the risk of retaliatory Palestinian rocket fire.

Meanwhile, in a special session of the Israeli parliament, Defence Minister Ehud Barak defended the government's actions, saying the goal of the operation is to stop Hamas from launching rocket attacks at its civilian population. He said the offensive will be "extended and deepened as we find necessary."

"We have nothing against the citizens of Gaza, but we must fight against the Hamas leadership. We are making the utmost efforts to prevent civilian casualties," Barak said.

Israel is in an "all-out war with Hamas and its proxies," he said.

Israel's cabinet approved a call-up of 6,500 reserve soldiers, raising fears of an impending ground offensive.

Since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, after 38 years of full military occupation, Israeli forces have repeatedly returned to the territory to hunt militants. However, Israel has shied away from retaking the entire strip, for fear of getting bogged down in urban warfare.

Military experts said Israel would need at least 10,000 soldiers for a full-scale invasion.

Both Israel and Hamas have drawn international criticism for their attacks, with Arab countries generally condemning Israel, and the United States holding Hamas responsible for a broken ceasefire and renewed violence.

Protests gain momentum

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the Hamas organization has "once again shown its true colours as a terrorist organization," and that Israel's actions were "in response to the mortar and rocket attacks on Israel."

Protests around the world against the Israeli offensive continued Monday.

In Beirut, tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters stood in pouring rain Monday to protest the Israeli assault.

In Egypt, thousands of people rallied, calling for the intervention of Arab armies to protect the Palestinians.

About 1,000 backers of anti-American Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also staged a protest in eastern Baghdad.

The political party of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement condemning the attacks, and calling on Islamic countries to cut relations with Israel and end all "secret and public talks" with it.



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