Tuesday Nov 20, 201205:05 PM GMT
US losing regional allies over backing for Israel's attack on Gaza
A Palestinian man inspects a damaged building following overnight Israeli airstrikes on the town of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 20, 2012.
A Palestinian man inspects a damaged building following overnight Israeli airstrikes on the town of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 20, 2012.
Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:5PM
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The American backing for the massive Israeli bombardment of besieged Gaza enclave has put the Obama administration at odds with two of its key Middle East partners, a report says.


Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom the US views as a ‘moderate voice’ in the region, described the Israeli regime as a “terrorist state” on Monday and condemned the deadly airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Islamist resistance group Hamas.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, meanwhile, has warned Tel Aviv against a ground invasion, invoking support for Hamas’s leadership and dispatching his prime minister to the blockaded territory, the US daily Washington Post states in a news analysis on Tuesday.

The growing regional outcry over hundreds of indiscriminate Israeli aerial strikes on Gaza, blessed by top American officials as “defensive” measures, has exposed the United States to mounting condemnation for its unwillingness to press Israel to agree to a cease-fire.

The conflict, initiated and intensified by near daily Israeli bombardment of the impoverished territory and assassination of a senior Hamas commander, has also undermined US relations with officials in Egypt and Turkey, highlighting the limits of American influence in the Middle East following the wave of revolutions that swept the region in 2011.

According to the article, as international diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire intensified in Cairo, with growing frustration by Egyptian officials with US refusal to urge the Israeli regime against continued bombardment of Gaza, American officials still did not back any plan.

“We don’t practice diplomacy from the podium,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday. “We have been very clear that Israel has a right of self-defense.”

Other administration officials went as far as demanding their regional allies to intervene in efforts to halt retaliatory rocket fires by Hamas resistance forces.

“Our position continues to be that those nations in the region, particularly nations that have influence over Hamas, and that’s principally Egypt and Turkey, also Qatar...that those nations need to use that influence to ­de-escalate the conflict,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Monday. “De-escalation has to begin with, again, an end to rocket fire from Gaza.”

The daily notes that even during Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanon, as European and Arab nations lobbied the George W. Bush administration to intervene with Israel or to push for a cease-fire, the US initially resisted calls for a cease-fire, “because Israel argued that it needed the military latitude.”

The article also cites growing frustration at the United Nations with the persistent American efforts to block any condemnation of the Israeli aggression by the world body.

MFB/SS
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