HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani yesterday condemned the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip that killed Hamas’s top military commander and at least six other Palestinians and said they should not go unpunished.
“I condemn in the name of Qatar... This filthy crime must not pass without a punishment,” Sheikh Hamad told journalists after a meeting in the Saudi capital between Gulf Co-operation Council Foreign Ministers and their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syria.
“The UN Security Council must shoulder its responsibilities in preserving peace and security in the world.”
Lavrov said Moscow was “very concerned” about the escalation in Gaza.
“We are very concerned about the developments,” he told reporters.
“It is necessary to end all acts of violence,” he added, according to a translation into Arabic.
“It is a shame the Quartet did not manage over the past months ... to meet and come up with a clear stance,” he added, referring to the Quartet on Middle East peace efforts that groups Moscow with Washington, the UN and European Union.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi condemned the raids on Gaza as a threat to regional security and withdrew his ambassador from Israel. He also summoned the Israeli envoy to Cairo to deliver a protest and called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
Mursi, who hails from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group, has since his election last June strengthened the relationship between Egypt and Hamas.
Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, in 1979, previously withdrew its ambassador after the second Palestinian Intifada that began in 2000, when president Hosni Mubarak was in power.
Mursi has promised to take a harder line on Israel than his predecessor, who was accused of doing little to stop an Israeli war in Gaza in over New Year 2009.
Mursi “offered his sincerest condolences, in the name of the Egyptian people, to the Palestinians for their martyrs”, his spokesman Yassir Ali said.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is closely aligned with the Hamas rulers of Gaza, had earlier called for a boycott of Israel.
Its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, warned that Israel “must take into account the changes in the Arab region and especially Egypt”.
Egypt “will not allow the Palestinians to be subjected to Israeli aggression, as in the past”, the party statement said.
Egypt’s relations with Israel have chilled considerably since Mubarak’s ouster. Mursi himself has promised to respect his country’s treaty with Tel Aviv but refuses to mention Israel by name in his speeches.
The Palestinian Authority yesterday urged the UN Security Council to take a stand on Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip, which it said in a letter to the council amounted to “illegal criminal actions”.
“This escalation, which continues at this moment, demands the attention of the international community, including the Security Council, with the aim of averting the further deterioration and destabilisation of the situation on the ground and the fuelling by Israel of yet another deadly cycle of violence and bloodshed,” said Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour.
In a letter to Indian UN ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, president of the 15-nation council this month, Mansour added that “a direct message must be sent to Israel to cease its military campaign against the Palestinian people under its occupation, including the cessation of extrajudicial killing.”