01/03/08 "Al Jazeera" -- -
The Palestinian president has accused Israel of "international
terrorism", saying its assault on Gaza constitutes "more than a
Mahmoud Abbas's comments on Saturday came as more Israeli air
raids brought the total death toll over four days to 86 people,
at least a third of which have been children, according to
Fifty-two people were killed during Saturday's raids alone.
"It's very regrettable that what is
happening is more than a holocaust," Abbas told reporters in
"Children who are barely five-months old are being bombed by the
"We tell the world to see with its own eyes and judge for itself
what is happening and who is carrying out international
Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas leader living in Syria, also
denounced the Israeli attacks against Gaza's civilians as "the
Abbas later requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security
Council to discuss the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip, a
spokesman for the Palestinian leader said.
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, said that
"at best" Abbas could hope to get a Security Council resolution
condemning the Israeli action.
"And as we know, Israel has ignored tens of UN Security Council
resolutions over the last 40 years, and hundreds of UN assembly
resolutions - so this is going to be more talk and probably not
much will come out of it in the end," he said.
Rana el-Hindi from Save the Children, speaking from inside the
Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera children were suffering greatly from
the Israeli bombardment.
"In the last three days at least 19 children have been killed
... it's a real concern for all organisations here," she said.
"Most of the time, when we go into the field and talk to the
children about their fears and concerns, they are always afraid
of a new [Israeli] invasion to the Gaza Strip - and obviously
the current situation is just ... what they fear."
She said the number of children being hospitalised was
increasing "day after day".
Eissam Younis, director of the Al Mizan Centre for Human Rights
in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that the Israeli army was
"intentionally and systematically targeting civilians" and
criticised world powers for their muted response.
"Israel puts itself above the law because the international
community is always silent," he said.
The latest attacks mark the fourth day of Israeli bombardment
and follow the death of an Israel civilian in a Palestinian
Those killed in Saturday's attacks included at least eight
civilians, four of them women, said Dr Muawiya Hassanein, head
of Gaza's emergency services
At least 15 of those killed were fighters, including 10 fighters
from Hamas and two from the Islamic Jihad.
An operation in the Jabaliya refugee camp on Saturday marked the
deadliest day of fighting in the Hamas-ruled territory for more
than a year.
Witnesses said the Jabaliya deaths occurred as a result of gun
battles between Palestinian fighters and Israeli soldiers.
Tariq Dardouna, a Palestinian resident trapped in his house in
east Jabaliya, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces targeted
"The Israeli army opens fire at everything in our area,
including children and houses. There are injured children
bleeding inside their houses," Dardouna said.
"They are opening fire at everything."
Witnesses also reported clashes in the nearby Tufah
neighbourhood in northern Gaza City.
The Israeli army confirmed its operations in northern Gaza, with
the Israel Army Radio reporting that five Israeli soldiers were
wounded in the fighting.
Threat of invasion
There has been increasing domestic pressure in Israel to mount a
full-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip.
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".
Senior Palestinian officials have told Al Jazeera that the peace
negotiations begun in Annapolis last year, could be at risk if
the Israeli military assault on Gaza continues.
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister who heads the Israeli
negotiation team, reacted by saying that the Israeli military
action would be unaffected by any suspension of the peace talks.
"Even if the Palestinians suspend talks, it won't influence in
any way the decisions or operations Israel carries out to defend
its citizens," she said.
In Israel, six people were wounded, one of them seriously, by
long-range rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the
Israeli army said.
Fighters in Gaza fired over 40 rockets and mortars at southern
Eight of the missiles were long-range rockets that travelled as
far as the seaside Israeli town of Ashkelon, some 11km north of
the Gaza Strip.
Israel's political and military leadership has been considering
a major ground offensive in the Hamas-ruled territory to prevent
fighters from deploying more long-range rockets like those that
Palestinian fighters have launched frequent volleys of rockets
and mortars at Israeli communities near the Gaza border, though
the missile attacks rarely cause injuries.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
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