Mubarak slams Israel under pressure for role helping Gaza siege

Yemeni protesters on Tuesday stormed and briefly seized the Egyptian consulate in the southern city of Aden, witnesses said.

Mubarak slams Israel under pressure for role helping Gaza siege

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday slammed what he called Israel's "savage aggression" on the Gaza Strip, and said its "bloodstained hands" were stirring feelings of rage among Arabs.

But Mubarak, who had been under pressure for Egypt's role in helping enforce Israel's blockade of Gaza that led to ending a six-month truce, also said part of the blame for the violence on the Islamist Hamas group.

"We say to (Israeli) leaders: you bear the responsibility for your savage aggression against the Palestinians, regardless of what justifications you use as an excuse. And we say to them: your bloodstained hands are stirring up feelings of enormous anger," Mubarak said in a televised address.

Israel has killed more than 360 Palestinians in four days of attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Many Arabs have been looking for Egypt, the most populous Arab country and the first to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state, to do more to end the assault on Gaza.

Yemeni protesters on Tuesday stormed and briefly seized the Egyptian consulate in the southern city of Aden, witnesses said. It was the latest in a series of protests against Egyptian diplomatic missions in the Middle East.

In his address, Mubarak laid part of the blame on Hamas.

"We warned you repeatedly that rejecting the truce would push Israel to aggression against Gaza," Mubarak said.

He added: "The right to resist the occupation is an immutable and legitimate right, but the resistance remains accountable to its people, which decide in favour or against it based on how much benefit it achieves for its causes or how much ruin, destruction and the waste of martyrs' lives it entails."

Mubarak said Egypt would propose a way to contain the current conflict to Arab foreign ministers meeting in an emergency session at the Cairo-based Arab League on Wednesday.

He said Egypt would seek to end the Israeli onslaught in a manner that allows for a return to an earlier truce, along with a reopening of the Gaza Strip's border--long a demand of Hamas.

Mubarak gave no details on how this would happen.

Both Israel and Hamas rejected any notion of a ceasefire soon, three days after Israeli leaders launched bombing raids over the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.

Reuters
Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2008, 18:20
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