Hamas to Israel: 'You Have Opened The Gates Of Hell' As World Begins To Chose Sides

 @MayaErgas on November 15 2012 12:48 PM

The world has begun to choose sides as Israel and Hamas trade more missiles over the Gaza-Israel border.

A spokesman for the U.S. state department Mark C. Toner, released a statement on Wednesday saying the U.S. "strongly condemns the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel," and that there is "no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel."

"We support Israel's right to define itself," Toner continued in the statement, "and we encourage Israel to continue every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

"Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart," Toner added, "yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self-determination."

A report from the Israeli Prime Minister's office revealed that Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama and "expressed his deep appreciation for [Obama's] support of Israel's right to defend itself."

Canada has also fallen onto Israel's side: A spokesman for the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister released a statement saying, ""We fundamentally believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens from terrorist threats. Far too often, the Jewish people find themselves on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism."

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC that Hamas "bears principal responsibility for escalating tension," and that Israel "should do its utmost to reduce tension."

"I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups," Hague said.

So chalk up three for Israel. Meanwhile at the U.N., the Security Council met on Wednesday night to discuss the situation, and released statements sent by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Netanyahu about "the worrisome" and "alarming escalation of violence … and the need to prevent any further deterioration."

Critics of Israel's actions accused Israel of "extrajudicial" killings in the case of Ahmed Jabari, the head of the Hamas militant wing who Israel struck down on Wednesday. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood released a statement saying they "condemned the assassination" and has sent condolences to the leaders of Hamas. The statement also called on the "Arab and international community to take a firm stand against such killings and the slaughter of Palestinians besieged in the Gaza Strip."

The statement also noted that Jabari was "one of the main architects of last year's prisoner-swap deal," which traded IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas for five years, for over a thousand Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Hamas is officially designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Canada.

The governments of Qatar and Syria also supported the Palestinians, Al-Arabiya reported. Syria's official SANA news agency released a statement from the government, condemning "the heinous atrocities committed by the enemy Israeli army against the Arab Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," and said that Syria will remain "faithful to its national and historical duty to the Palestinian people to recover their stolen lands and establish a free Palestinian state."

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said in a statement, "This filthy crime must not pass without a punishment." Al-Arabiya also reported that the Arab League was calling for an emergency meeting to respond to the Israeli strikes.

Israel said its Iron Dome defense system has intercepted 90 of the estimated 250 rockets fired at it from Gaza in the past 24 hours, the Telegraph said. On the Palestinian side, 13 civilians have been killed, including two children, and at least 45 wounded. In Israel, three have died.

On Wednesday, Hamas's military wing claimed they had rockets that could reach Tel Aviv. On Thursday, Haaretz reported that rocket alert sirens in Tel Aviv went off, and that a rocket had reached the southern suburbs of the city, but the IDF denied any rockets had hit the area, and said "Hamas is spreading propaganda."

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