- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2009


$1 billion pledged to rebuild Gaza

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz announced the donation of $1 billion for the reconstruction of Gaza and declared the end of the Arab leaders’ differences, paving the way for Arab unity.

He said in opening remarks at the Kuwait Arab summit that the Arab peace initiative will not remain on the table forever, describing what happened in Gaza as “massacres carried out by inhuman criminal gangs.”


Leaders united at Kuwait summit

The Israeli aggression on Gaza and the Palestinian cause in general were strongly present at the Arab summit in Kuwait, reconciling the leaders of Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria in a meeting hosted by the Saudi king immediately after the opening.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem said the reconciliation, which came a day after a cease-fire in Gaza, was a result of the bloodshed of Gaza’s martyrs and Saudi King Abdullah’s sense of responsibility.


Israel to face legal charges

The Israeli security apparatus is preparing to confront international legal charges of committing war crimes during its holocaust on the Gaza Strip by compiling a file claiming that every house it destroyed was either storing weapons or was used by the Palestinian resistance for military purposes.

Israel is concerned that international human rights organizations will file charges against its officials involved in war crimes, in the wake of the large number of martyrs and injured in the massive destruction of Gaza.


Erdogan seeks respect for Hamas

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the international community to respect the election victory of Hamas and to stop marginalizing it.

Speaking at the European Policy Center think tank in Brussels, Mr. Erdogan said, “We should not squeeze them in a corner because that will only lead to more extremism,” adding that “we should respect the choice of the people at the polls if we want to promote democracy.”


Gaza damage shocking

After Israel announced a unilateral cease-fire and its forces began a “gradual withdrawal” from Gaza City and its suburbs, displaced families returning to their homes were shocked to discover the level of destruction in the strip.

The number of Palestinian martyrs reached 1,300, including hundreds of civilians, after 95 bodies were pulled out from under rubble. At least 5,300 were injured, while the material losses were estimated at $476 million.


Arabs grasp peace initiative

After a festive week of summits, the Arab leaders converge on Kuwait for an economic summit that will turn political when they discuss the repercussions of the Israeli aggression on Gaza in a closed session that is expected to witness sharp debates.

Qatar and Syria insist on adopting the Doha summit recommendations that declared the Arab peace initiative dead and called for severing ties with Israel. But Syria and Egypt, along with most other Arabs, are expected to hold on to the initiative because it is a strategic choice.


Bolivia severs ties with Israel

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced that his country severed diplomatic ties with Israel to protest its assault on the Gaza Strip, a week after his Venezuelan ally, President Hugo Chavez, expelled the Israeli ambassador from Caracas in an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The measures by these Latin American countries prompted a Kuwaiti Islamist MP to move the Arab League headquarters from Cairo to the Venezuelan Embassy to protest Egypt’s refusal to open its borders with Gaza.

Compiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times

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