Arab League chief calls on UN to halt Israel’s Gaza attack

December 31st, 2008 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Dec 31 (DPA) The head of the Arab League urged the United Nations Security Council Wednesday to take immediate action to stop Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip.”We urge the Security Council not to fall under any pressure and take an immediate decision to stop the Israeli attacks on Gaza,” said Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa at the opening of an emergency meeting of the body.

Decrying the rising number of Palestinian casualties, Mussa asked: “Which ‘magic number’ is the security council waiting for before it will act to put an end to these attacks?”

The emergency meeting took place as Israeli airstrikes continued for the fifth day against the Islamist Hamas movement, which governs the Gaza Strip. The casualty toll in the densely populated salient has reached almost 390 dead, most of them militants, and 1,800 injured.

Mussa also called upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to appeal to the Security Council, which he charged with passively waiting for Israel to strike targets before taking any action.

The Arab League leader also called on the Palestinian factions - largely divided between Gaza and the West Bank - to put their disputes aside and unite.

“Israel’s air raids are destroying Gaza, and Israel’s settlements are taking over the West Bank,” Mussa said.

Mussa further criticized both sides of the conflict, accusing the Israeli government of beginning the offensive to improve its chances ahead of elections, and indirectly criticizing Hamas, saying that there had to be “responsible” resistance.

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