January 6, 2009
Israeli President Shimon Peres says Tel Aviv has no qualms about its public image despite world condemnation of its assault on Gaza.
Peres on Tuesday brushed aside an EU warning that Israel would “destroy” its image if it fails to pay heed to international appeals and immediately halt its incursion into the Gaza Strip.
“Europe must open its eyes. We are not in the business of public relations or improving our image. We are fighting against terror, and we have every right to defend our citizens,” Peres said.
Tel Aviv waged war on the Gaza Strip on December 27 and began what it claims to be a “long-lasting” ground invasion of the area on Saturday night.
So far the Israeli aggression has killed 604 Gazans and wounded 3040 others — a large number of whom are civilians.
“We have met with the heads of international humanitarian organizations and delegations, and we were told that there is a serious problem in Gaza of distributing the delegations’ shipments,” EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferraro-Waldner said on Tuesday.
According to Ferraro-Waldner, Israel has “a serious problem with international advocacy” and its actions against the 1.5 million people residing in Gaza are “disproportionate”.
Although Tel Aviv has stepped up efforts to downplay the humanitarian situation in the blockaded region, a large number of UN officials and aid workers have warned that the Palestinian territory is spiraling into a critical state.
“I think it’s a monstrosity; there’s no other way to name it,” said UN General Assembly chief Miguel d’Escoto on Saturday, shortly after Washington blocked a UN Security Council resolution against Israel. The statement would have called on Israel to end its ground incursion into the region.
The two previous UN draft resolutions seeking an end to the violence in the region have also been blocked by Washington. The United States has so far vetoed over 40 anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.
Peres even attempted to shift the blame onto Tehran, saying that Israel was “fighting a comprehensive war against murderous terror, which is of Iran’s making.”
The Israeli military operation in Gaza comes six weeks before the upcoming Israeli elections scheduled for February 10.
Although Israeli echelons claim that the operation has nothing to do with election politics, a recent survey has revealed that the offensive bodes well for Kadima and Likud, respectively headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the latest of a series which began when world powers created Israel in 1948 under the Zionist slogan of a ‘land without a people and a people without a land’.
The establishment of Israel in the Middle East was carried out in compensation for the hardships and suffering imposed on the Jews of Europe due to anti-Semitism in the continent.
Zionists benefited by gaining power over the native land of the Palestinians, but the establishment and the subsequent terror attacks against the Palestinian population gave rise to the philosophy of resistance and in recent years armed retaliation.
According to Tel Aviv, however, the war on Gaza is aimed at ending rocket attacks against Israeli settlers, toppling Hamas and preventing the resistance group from rearming.
Hamas, on the other hand, demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of the Gaza border — which has been closed due to the 18-month blockade imposed on the strip by Tel Aviv.