Monday, March 3, 2008

Israel warns of Gazan 'holocaust'

"hala elalfy" hala_elalfy2000@yahoo.com

Israel warns of Gazan 'holocaust'




Tens of thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza City against the latest Israeli raids [AFP]
A senior Israeli defence official has said that Palestinians firing rockets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip would bring upon themselves what he termed a "shoah", the Hebrew word for holocaust or disaster.



The official's comments on Friday come as thousands of Gazans took to the streets to bury some of those who have been killed during three days of Israeli missile attacks.






Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defence minister, told Israeli army radio that "the more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they [Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger 'shoah' because we will use all our might to defend ourselves."

The word "shoah" is rarely used in Israel outside discussions of the Nazi Holocaust of Jews.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, strongly criticised Vilnai's comments.
"We are facing new Nazis who want to kill and burn the Palestinian people," he said.
New attacks
A year-old Palestinian girl and a senior munitions expert for the Hamas movement were killed in separate missile strikes in the Gaza Strip late on Friday, medical officials and Hamas sources said.
The Hamas member, Eyad al-Ashram, died when an Israeli missile struck open ground after dark in the north of the territory.
The Israel army confirmed it had targeted the area.
One-year-old Malak al-Kafarna died of a shrapnel wound to the head some hours after a missile landed near her home in Beit Hanoun, also in the north, Raed al-Arini, a doctor at Shifa hospital said. She was the second infant killed this week.
Hamas officials described the explosion, in which four other civilians were also wounded, as being caused by an Israeli surface-to-surface missile.
Earlier on Friday a Palestinian civilian died of wounds sustained the previous day in an Israeli attack.
Also on Friday 13 people, six of them children, were wounded in separate Israeli strikes in Gaza, where 35 Palestinians have now been killed since Wednesday.
Broader offensive
In depth

Israeli leaders said cross-border rocket fire may leave them no choice but to launch a broader military offensive against Hamas, which seized Gaza in June after routing forces loyal to Western-backed Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.
Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, said on Thursday that "a major ground operation was real and tangible" and that Israel was "not afraid of it".
Barak's threat of a full-scale invasion came on the same day that the Israeli military pounded Gaza with missiles killing 20 Palestinians, including five children playing football.
Hamas said it hit Israel with more than 80 rockets during the same three-day period.

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has so far been wary of launching a major ground offensive, which could incur heavy casualties and derail US-backed peace talks with Abbas.
But domestic pressure is growing.
Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said Barak had sought to prepare the way for an offensive by sending confidential messages to world leaders, including Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, who is due to visit the region next week.
"Israel is not keen on and rushing for an offensive, but Hamas is leaving us no choice," Barak told them, Yedioth said.
A Hamas spokesman told Al Jazeera that Israel should be pressured by other countries to put an end to the raids.
"We know that the Gaza Strip is a small area. It is open for Israel - they can kill most of the Palestinian people and destroy everything," Ghazi Hamad said.
"The job of the international community is to stop the Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip."
Not 'genocide'
Your Views
Vilnai's spokesman said: "Mr Vilnai was meaning "disaster". He did not mean to make any allusion to the genocide."
Arye Mekel, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: "Deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai used the Hebrew phrase that included the term "shoah" in Hebrew in the sense of a disaster or a catastrophe, and not in the sense of a holocaust."
Ismail Haniya, Hamas's leader in the Gaza strip, said: "This is a proof of Israel's pre-planned aggressive intentions against our people.
"They want the world to condemn what they call the Holocaust and now they are threatening our people with a holocaust".
Rice has expressed concern about Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza, but has stopped short of calling for Israeli restraint.
The US state department urged Israel to "consider the consequences" of any action and Tony Blair, the Quartet's Middle East envoy, said everything must be done to avoid creating "even more victims of the situation created in Gaza".
Abbas, who remains hostile to Hamas, called Israel's threats and preparations to target Gaza "dangerous".
"[Abbas] demands that Israel halt its attack and demands that all factions adhere to immediate calm and to stop the firing of rockets," his office said in a statement.
Protests
One of the 33 Palestinians killed during three days
of Israeli raids in Gaza [AFP]
Demonstrators poured onto Gaza's streets on Friday to denounce Israel's recent intense spate of air strikes.
"They've killed my right to childhood," read a sign held by a child, clad in a red-stained white funeral shroud, who attended a large rally in the northern town of Jabaliya.
Haniya told worshippers at a Gaza City mosque that the coastal strip which Hamas has controlled for more than eight months was facing war.
"Gaza today faces a real war, a crazy war led by the enemy against our people," he said.
Haniya lashed out at the US administration, which he claimed backs the Israeli attacks by portraying them as "legitimate self-defence. "
He also accused the Arab world of "encouraging the Israeli aggression" through its silence.
The 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) condemned the Israeli raids and urged the United Nations to rein in the Jewish state.

http://english. aljazeera. net/NR/exeres/ 80663E2B- 4836-4A16- 85AE-F0825E5E636 E.htm



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