The Arab League is gathering for an emergency meeting in Cairo on November 17th following a request to this effect from Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. The AL ministers are meeting in the aftermath of an Israeli assault on Gaza on Wednesday in which one of Hamas’ military commanders, Ahmed al-Jabari, was killed. The Voice of Russia’s Andrei Fedyashin and Vitaly Radnayev report.
The Israeli military launched Operation Pillar of Defense following increasing rocket fire into Israeli from Hamas militants. Israeli representatives have warned that they would start a ground invasion of Gaza if there was an attempt to retaliate on the part of Hamas.
The events have been unfolding at breakneck speed. Egypt has recalled its ambassador from Israel. The Israeli ambassador has left Cairo. An emergency session of the UN Security Council held at the request of the Palestinian Authority, Morocco and Egypt, adopted no statements. As countries hold their breath waiting for the reaction of Hamas, tensions are escalating in Arab countries. Even pro-western Qatar has called for “punishing” Israel.
The Middle East governments fear that there could be a repetition of Operation Cast Lead which was carried out by Israel in 2008-2009. Launched on a similar pattern, it was followed by an Israeli invasion of Gaza and an attack from the sea.
The recent operation has become the largest since 2009. Hamas militants have been firing rockets at Israel’s border areas all along but Tel Aviv’s reaction is particularly tough now owing to the political situation at home and pending the elections, due to take place in January. Tatiana Nosenko of the Institute of Oriental Studies, comments.
"The situation was the same in 2008 – early 2009. Operation Cast Lead was launched ahead of the previous elections. The layout is similar now. Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are trying to impress the voters ahead of the elections".
The arrival on the political scene of the government of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt has made matters worse. President Morsi, one of the former leaders of Muslim Brotherhood, is hostile towards Israel. Egypt is the only Arab country that has a peace treaty with Israel. A number of Russian experts post gloomy forecasts. Yevgeny Satanovsky is president of the Russian Institute of the Middle East.
"President Morsi might choose to use the current operation as a pretext to sever the peace treaty with Israel, or he might choose to denounce the treaty later. He will surely denounce the peace treaty with Israel, sooner or later. For Egyptian leaders, Israel’s war with Egypt over Sinai, or the crisis in Egypt, or for other reasons, is a necessary fact and nothing can be done about it."
Apparently, Israel is going to expand its operation. According to recent reports, Israeli areas 25 kilometers north of the Palestinian Enclave have come under attack from Gaza. Three people have been killed. This is something Israel never forgives.
NARRATOR: Report from Andrei Fedyashin, Vitaly Radnayev.