Arab League seeks urgent UN meet on Gaza

The Arab League is calling for the UN Security Council to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the deadly Israeli air campaign against the Gaza Strip, Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi says.

Twelve people were killed on Tuesday and another 80 wounded in a number of attacks in the most serious flare-up in and around the Palestinian territory since November 2012.

An official from the pan-Arab bloc said Arabi had “instructed the Arab League’s UN representative to initiate urgent consultations within the Arab group calling for an emergency security meeting of the Security Council.”

Earlier, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas asked the international community to “immediately intervene to halt this dangerous escalation which would lead the region to more destruction and instability”.

Arabi said he had been “in touch with president Abbas to follow the latest developments in the Gaza Strip” while also continuing “consultations with Arab foreign ministers on this subject”.

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He denounced the “dangerous Israeli escalation” and warned against its humanitarian consequences in Gaza.

“The continued attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israel is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, the Geneva Convention and international resolutions on occupied Palestine,” said the Arab League chief.

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Impact of the Israel-Gaza Conflict on the Foreign Relations of Israel

The Israel-Gaza conflict that has killed over 100 people is one of the most intense ones, ever since the beginning of the Arab Spring uprisings. This conflict is not only affecting regional dynamics in the Middle East but also the political relationships of Israel with other nations.
Southern Israel has been the target of several rocket attacks by Gaza since 2009 to which Israel chose to show restraint and have also been applauded for this by other countries. However, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense with an air strike on November 14, killing Ahmed Jabari, Hamas military chief. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, famously stated that if Israel had to quit its arms, the nation would cease to exist. Similarly, if the Arabs had to lay down their weapons, war would cease to exist.

Egypt, Turkey and Qatar have come closer to Hamas due to their close alignment with the Muslim brotherhood. This puts a deeper constraint on their relationship with Israel. After Hamas’ departure from their Syria headquarters along with the reduction of funds from Iran, it was expected that the violence would cease. However, the recent violence that deployed Iranian long-range missiles indicates otherwise.

As the conflict persisted, the Israeli Prime Minister reached out to US President Barack Obama to reinstate a relationship between the two countries. Meanwhile, United States has come out in full support of Israel, despite the ongoing tensions between the two countries.

On the other hand, Egypt, the largest country in the region, played an assertive role in calling the recent truce between Israel and Gaza on November 21. It does not want their relations with Israel to be established by Hamas and, hence, did not visit Gaza during the war nor severed their relationship with Israel. However, if Egypt agrees to regulate the Gaza-Sinai border to prevent the shipment of long-range missiles from Iran to Gaza, Israel would have accomplished a part of its mission.

The countries that rank high on Israel’s list, Canada, European Nations and the United States, have shown support and understanding towards Israel’s act of defence. As Israel did not enter ground war, these governments give full credit to the Israeli government for successfully avoiding the situation.

This conflict has also highlighted the fact that Iran is at the centre of the trouble in the entire region and a nuclear deal with them only addresses a part of the entire problem, As Iran continues to send out ammunition and missiles to Syria and Gaza, the danger persists. The foremost point in the Israeli agenda in their meetings with the major countries would be how to stop Iran and subsequently the radical forces from gaining control of the entire region.

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Nevertheless, gaining a reputation of restraint and moderation, Israel has emerged as a winner when it comes to foreign relationships during and after this conflict.

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Where does Arab League stand in the Israel-Gaza conflict?

The worsening Israel-Gaza conflict has sparked a new tension in the region. Israel, which had been showing exemplary restraint towards attacks from Gaza ever since 2009, launched an air attack on November 14 that killed Hamas’ military wing commander. Thereafter, it has conducted several air strikes on Gaza; though, it has not yet initiated a ground war. Meanwhile, Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s new president, is working towards mediating a truce between Israel and Hamas.

The Arab League has been supporting Egypt’s efforts. The head of the Arab League, Nabil el-Aribi, along with other league officials visited the affected Gaza strip during the week-long conflict between the two. The fight between Hamas, the militant group, and Israel has received public disapproval, and been termed as an unfair and brutal attack on the Palestinians residing in the Gaza strip. Condemning this aggressive operation by Israel against Palestinians, the league has vowed to bring the siege to an end and also eradicate the economic blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza since 2007.

Diplomats from the Arab League met in Cairo and sanctioned Egypt’s efforts. The truce that took place on the 21st of November had agreed upon certain conditions laid down by the conflicting parties, all of which were not met or addressed. An official of the Arab League said that the organisation denounced the aggressive stand of Israel in rather strong words and has even warned of withdrawing their offer of recognising Israel they made almost a decade ago.

The league is now reconsidering its initiatives and even their relationship with Israel is under scrutiny by the diplomats. There are reports that the Arab League may even deploy the sympathy this aggression has garnered for Palestine in building support for its bid to upgrade its status in the United Nations General Assembly. Israel is opposed to this move. An Arab League diplomat said that some nations would abstain and some might vote against it. H also stated that the attacks would help these parties recheck their position.

The Palestinian Commissioner for International relations, Nabil Shaath, requested the league for a “firm and urgent” action in order to end the violence in Gaza and also said that they will take up the issue of the killing of civilians by the Israel armed forces with the UN Human Rights Council.

Both the Israelis and Hamas had laid down certain conditions before agreeing for ceasefire and the Arab leaders are striving hard to meet these demands. The Arab league officials along with European foreign ministers have stated that an immediate termination of this hostility is in the best interest of everyone due to their incorrigible impact on the civilians. Moreover, at a time when there’s profound instability in the entire region, the situation only gets worse from here.

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Condition of the Common People in Gaza & Israel

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Government of Hamas that started on November 14, 2012 and continued till the ceasefire truce on November 21, 2012, has severely disrupted the lives of ordinary people in the Gaza strip. According to the Palestine Centre for Human Rights, the 8-day cross-border fighting resulted in the death of 156 Palestinians, including 33 children and minors.
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Egypt’s efforts support to the Palestinians is supported by the Arab ministers

After the UN Security Council failed to bring about any respite between Israel and Gaza, Egypt, among many other countries, has tried to take the cause in its own hands. This initiative taken by Egypt is being supported by other Arab ministers. The ‘aggression’ that started off between these two countries needs to die as soon as possible to avoid further mass murders, rocket fires, missile projections and, most importantly, to restore peace in the Middle East region.
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Egypt Making Efforts to Calm Tension in Gaza

Finally, the massive massacre caused by the Israel-Hamas rocket fights has come to a halt and normal life has started gaining momentum for the civilians. After the ceasefire that was declared by the Egyptian government on 21st November, there has been a check on the cross-border fight between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian party that had forcefully seized Gaza in 2007.
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