BEIRUT: Lebanon’s rival political parties Wednesday strongly condemned Israel’s aerial assault on Gaza, the first official reactions to an ongoing offensive in which at least 40 people – all Palestinian – have been killed so far.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri called on the Arab world to take quick action to stop the attacks, saying Israel was “persistent in committing the most brutal attacks against the Gaza Strip, which is steadfast in the face of all practices of siege, oppression and starvation.”
He denounced the offensive and urged the international community to do all it could to prevent the attack against the Palestinians, warning that silence would only encouraged its continuation.
Hariri’s Future Movement called for “quick Arab and international action” to stop “the Israeli massacre” committed against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.
A statement issued at the end of the party’s meeting called on the United Nations to take immediate action to end the “arrogance of the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip ... and to immediately secure international protection for the Palestinian people over all the occupied territories” rather than simply release statements condemning the acts.
It said Israel was looking to Judaize Jerusalem and eliminate the Palestinian cause, and said the killing of 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khudair “proved to the entire world that the Israeli enemy is practicing organized terrorism against the patient Palestinian people as the most severe suffering in human history.”
Abu Khudair was abducted last week. His charred body was found the next day in a Jerusalem forest in what is believed to be a revenge killing for the murder of three Israeli teens weeks earlier.
Hezbollah-ally the Amal Movement blasted international apathy over Israeli actions, saying “mere condemnations and denunciations of Israel’s crimes, the latest of which was burning to death Palestinian boy Mohammad Abu Khudair, is no longer sufficient as the Palestinians are left alone in the field.”
The Shiite party, headed by Speaker Nabih Berri, also called for immediate action in the form of protests and demonstrations in the Arab world to press for an international condemnation of Israel.
It said the current conflict was aimed at “dissolving Palestinian national unity which was manifested in the formation of a harmonious government,” in order to consolidate and strengthen Israel.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani urged the world’s big powers to rein in Israel and hold it accountable for its “barbaric actions.”
Qabbani said Israel has become a “constant source of disturbing the peace, security and stability in the Arab region.”