Regional, international anger mounts over Israel flotilla raid

Arab League foreign ministers met on Wednesday to adopt a unified position vis-a-vis Israel’s massacre earlier this week of 19 activists on board a Gaza-bound flotilla bearing humanitarian aid.

Arab delegations were split between a faction lead by Syria–which calls for halting all negotiations with Israel, cutting diplomatic relations with it and immediately ending the three-year siege of the Gaza Strip–and a faction supported by the US-backed Palestinian Authority, which calls for continuing indirect peace talks with Israel via US mediators.

The UN Human Rights Council, meanwhile, passed a resolution on Wednesday calling for the formation of an independent international committee to investigate the incident. The resolution was passed with 32 votes in favor, three against–including the US–and abstentions from France and the UK.

In Turkey, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported that Ankara planned to request parliamentary permission to take military action in retaliation against the Israeli attack, pending results of ongoing talks between Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Barack Obama.

On the international level, Nicaragua officially severed diplomatic relations with the self-proclaimed Jewish state, while Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared his country’s support for the Palestinian national cause. UK foreign ministry spokesman Barry Martin, for his part, said the British government would “review” its relations with Tel Aviv, while a number of European officials have refused to meet with their Israeli counterparts.

The European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, meanwhile, announced its intention to dispatch another aid flotilla to the embattled coastal enclave, while the International Coalition against War Criminals announced plans to raise a formal lawsuit against Israel.

The International Union of Muslim Scholars, for its part, has called for making this Friday a “day of rage” against Israel and Israeli violence. The organization urged all Muslims to stage demonstrations and boycott products produced by Israel and the states that support it, especially the US. Union president and prominent Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi called for trying Israeli officials as war criminals.

In Egypt, hundreds of angry protesters demonstrated in cities throughout the country. They burnt Israeli flags, called for the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, and demanded the permanent reopening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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