Clinton: US and Israel united in fight against terror

Embassy in TA sends condolences to victims; German FM condemns attacks; UN's Ban concerned of escalation, calls for restraint.

August 19, 2011 01:58
3 minute read.
US envoy Shapiro visits "Iron Dome" Battery

Shapiro 311. (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

The international community strongly condemned the multiple terror attacks near Eilat on Thursday, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning against the security situation in Sinai.

“The United States condemns today’s attacks in southern Israel and all acts of terrorism in the strongest terms,” said Clinton in a statement she issued to the media after the deaths of seven Israelis and the wounding of dozens.

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“These brutal and cowardly attacks appear to be premeditated acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims, their families and loved ones,” she said.

“The United States and Israel are united in the fight against terror. We hope that those involved in the planning of these gruesome attacks will be brought to swift justice. We stand by Israel as our friend, partner, and ally – now and always,” she said.

“This violence only underscores our strong concerns about the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula. Recent commitments by the Egyptian Government to address the security situation in the Sinai are important and we urge the Egyptian Government to find a lasting resolution,” she said.

An Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that in the last weeks the issue of terrorism in Sinai had been raised in meetings and conversations with foreign leaders.

“Egyptians have had severe challenges in [imposing] their sovereignty in Sinai,” the official said.

The official warned that Sinai had become like the Wild West in the 19th-century United States. It is a place where terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah are flourishing with help from Iran, the official said.

This isn’t just a problem for Israel and Egypt, the official said. It is also a strategic problem for the international community because the Suez Canal is on the southern tip of Sinai Peninsula.

Israel has done what it can to help Egypt in Sinai, said the official, referencing Israel’s support for increased Egyptian troops there.

But most of the foreign leaders who issued statements on Thursday focused on messages of condolences and warning against allowing violence to influence international attempts to revive the peace process.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said, “In this difficult hour, we stand at the side of our Israeli friends.

Those who are responsible must be brought to justice.” He warned against allowing “violence and terror to sabotage efforts toward peace and dialogue in the Middle East.”

The United Kingdom’s Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said, “As efforts for peace in the region continue, this brutality has no place, nor its perpetrators any excuse.”

France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Alain Juppe said that nothing justifies these kinds of acts at an hour when all efforts should be aimed toward peace.

A spokesman for United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that “The Secretary- General hopes that the perpetrators are swiftly identified and brought to justice. He is concerned at the risk of escalation and calls for all to act with restraint.”

Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat warned against Israeli retaliatory action in Gaza, noting that as an “occupying power” Israel bore responsibility for the welfare of the civilians living in Gaza.

“Israel stands warned of any possible aggressive action or collective punishment measures against the Palestinian population in Gaza,” Erekat said.

“Our position is clear. We are against violence in all its forms. Such violence does not advance the Palestinian cause for freedom and independence.

However, we will not accept for such attacks to be used as a pretext for aggression,” he said.

“The international community also has a responsibility towards the Palestinian people and ensuring calm; we call on them to uphold this responsibility,” he said.

Click for full Jpost coverage

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