|EU slams Israeli 'disproportionate force' in Gaza|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Sunday, 02 March 2008 10:12|
The presidency of the European Union has issued a statement today condemning the "disproportionate use of force" by Israel in Gaza in the wake of its recent campaign aimed at halting ongoing rocket attacks on Sderot and Ashkelon. There have been a high number of civilian casualties on both sides since Hamas stepped up its rocket attacks on Israel. Despite the incursion into Gaza, the IDF have not been able to halt the rocket attacks. At least three Grad missiles landed in Ashkelon today, one moderately wounding a young girl. Over thirty Kassam rockets have landed in the Sderot and Negev regions, wounding around a dozen people. Yesterday two Israeli soldiers were killed in gun battles with terrorists in Gaza, and an Arab teenager was killed after Palestinian protests in Judea and Samaria turned violent. The European Union has called for an immediate end to the rocket attacks on Israel, and has urged the Israeli government to exercise maximum restraint.
Quote: ""The (EU) presidency condemns the recent disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces against (the) Palestinian population in Gaza and urges Israel to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from all activities that endanger civilians. Such activities are contrary to international law," said the statement issued by the Slovene government on behalf of the EU – Slovenia currently holds the EU's rotating presidency. The tough wording reflects shock at the high number of civilian casualties and frustration that the escalation of violence in the Middle East risks derailing peace efforts yet again.
This news comes as Javier Solana, the High Representative for the European Common, Foreign and Security Policy, arrives in the Middle East today, in an effort to encourage progress in the peace negotiations. On Monday he is to meet with representatives from the Israeli government, and on Tuesday he will meet with the Palestinian Authority leadership. He will stress the need for both sides to keep the Annapolis peace process on track. Meanwhile Arab leaders have continued to condemn Israel over its recent activities in Gaza, comparing them to that of Nazi Germany. Saudi Arabia issued a statement today condemning "the Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people and the threats of Israeli officials to transform Gaza into an inferno", and that "Israel is simulating through these actions the Nazi war crimes". Hundreds of Hizbullah supporters also gathered at the southern border of Lebanon today to protest Israel's actions in Gaza, chanting "Death to Israel". Israel has also been denounced by the governments of Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey. Ironically these self-same leaders that accuse Israel of behaving like the Nazis often themselves hold Hitler in high regard. Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' is still one of the best selling books in the Arab world. As we saw yesterday with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, many Arabs are taught to believe that either the Holocaust was a myth invented by Jews to blackmail the world, or they wish that Hitler had actually carried out his plans so they could be rid of this 'Zionist menace'.
It seems this conflict in the south has been brewing for some time. Ever since Operation Summer Rains in 2006, Hamas has been growing in strength and Israel has being doing little to prevent it. And shortly after Operation Summer Rains, the Second Lebanon War began in earnest. It wouldn't take much for this present conflict to grow into a wider conflagration if Hizbullah, aided by Syria and Iran, decided to join in the fray. As Christians, while we should favour Israel because they are God's earthly people, I do not feel we should get involved in these conflicts. Our kingdom is not of this world. Our goal is to reach the lost for Christ, whether they be Jew or Arab. Of course we believe that this is a very spiritual battle, and that Satan is bent on destroying Israel and the Jewish people and thus preventing Christ's return to earth to set up His kingdom. But a spiritual battle necessitates the use of spiritual weapons (2nd Corinthians 10:4). Those weapons are listed in Ephesians 6...
There is only one thing that can overcome radical Islam and that is radical Christianity. We need to get out there and start being salt and light so that people will see Jesus Christ in us. We need to be faithful witnesses for Him so that people will realize Jesus Christ is Lord and will turn to Him for salvation. The days are dark, so let your light shine before men (Matthew 5:16). I would also value your prayers also in regards to the current situation. I've a holiday booked for Israel at the beginning of April. Please pray for safe travelling, that I might be able to enjoy the trip to Holy Land in peace, and that it might give me a new desire to serve the risen Christ.