Israel’s offensive on Gaza has drawn sharp condemnation around the world, particularly from the online community. The US, however, has advocated Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorists, while the UN reached an impasse in negotiations.
Egypt, which withdrew its ambassador from Israel following the latter’s announcement that it would intensify its military campaign, ordered an emergency UN meeting to discuss the escalating conflict. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr warned that further aggression from Israel could have “negative repercussions on the security and stability of the region.”
The Palestinian envoy to the UN slammed Israeli aggression during the meeting, decrying it as “vulgarly and publicly boasting about its willful killing of Palestinians.” Following Wednesday’s offensive that killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari.
US Ambassador Susan Rice got behind Israel during the UN session, saying that there is no justification “for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel.”
The meeting was adjourned without any palpable conclusion, although the general message from the body was to de-escalate the conflict in order to avert any more civilian casualties.
At least 13 Palestinians have been reported dead so far, among them two children, according to Palestinian authorities.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern at the situation and voiced expectation that “Israeli reactions are measured so as not to provoke a new cycle of bloodshed.”
The White House released a transcript of President Obama’s communications with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night. Obama stressed Israel’s right to defend itself and has decried rocket fire from Gaza into the country.
“The president urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate,” the White House statement said. Netanyahu’s office said that he “deeply appreciated” the president’s support.
The US justifies its unwavering support of Israel in its terrorist classification of Hamas. RT correspondent Gayane Chichikyan highlighted the US’s double standard policy in its classification of terrorism, stressing they were not so quick to brand opposition attacks in Syria as “terrorism”, in spite of the fact the UN condemns them as such.
“There seem to be different interpretations of the term ‘terrorism’ in Washington,” said Chichikyan.
Protester ire against Israeli offensive
Protesters gather outside Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Tel Aviv apartment.(Image from screenshot of youtube video user@SocialTV)
A protest movement is already gathering momentum in response to the Israeli’s warmongering rhetoric. Hacktavist group Anonymous reportedly attacked the Israeli Defense Ministry website.
They claimed to have blocked it, posting the trademark hashtag “tango down” on Twitter.
In Tel Aviv overnight, more than 100 activists turned out outside Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Tel Aviv apartment complex to protest the IDF’s offensive.
They brandished anti-war banners and chanted slogans against the minister, such as “Defense minister, defense minister, how many kids did you kill today?”, “Israel, Palestine, two states for two peoples”, “Money for welfare, not war”and “No war for tycoons.”
Israel’s Meretz Hadash and the newly-formed Pirates Party had a strong presence at the protest.
“This will only bring death to Palestinians and Israelis, and we call on everybody who is able to come stand by our side and fight against this step before civilians and soldiers on both sides are killed,” said Amit Ashkenazi, a spokesman for Hadash to the Jerusalem Post.
Palestinian men take part in a candle vigil in support of the people of the Gaza Strip and against Israeli air strikes, on November 14, 2012 in front of the Church of the Nativity at the West Bank city of Bethlehem. (AFP Photo / Musa Al Shaer)
Palestenian protesters shout slogans as they march in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 14, 2012 during a demonstration in support of the people of the Gaza Strip and against Israeli air strikes. (AFP Photo / Abbas Momani)
Meanwhile in Ramallah, hundreds flooded the streets of the West Bank, enraged by Israel’s offensive. They called for revenge for those slain in the rocket strikes and urged Palestinian forces to return fire into Israel.
In the Egyptian capital, crowds gathered outside the Israeli embassy demanding its immediate closure, while demonstrations in solidarity of Gaza have also reportedly taken place in Istanbul and Turkey.
Protests are expected in the Israeli cities of Haifa and Jerusalem on Thursday.
Egyptians protest for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. (Image from twitter user@EslamX)
Egyptians protest for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Egypt (Image from twitter user@Mad_Darsh)