IDF operation will achieve nothing, Egyptian FM says

Aboul Gheit stresses Cairo won't be dragged into war.

aboul gheit 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
aboul gheit 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
Israel will not achieve anything with its military operation in Gaza, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday. He also stressed, however, that Egypt would not let Hamas draw it into a conflict with Israel. Asked why Egypt was being criticized for not acceding to Hamas's demands and permanently opening the Rafah border crossing, he said, "The goal [of these critics] is to drag Egypt into a new confrontation with Israel. Those who lead us to this confrontation from outside the region will not lose anything and, then, Egypt alone will shoulder the responsibility of this confrontation." Israel's Channel 2 quoted a blunter statement from Aboul Gheit: "Egypt won't go to war against Israel for Hamas." Aboul Gheit added that he was "worried that a continuing Palestinian division could end in two Palestinian states." He had "directed the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv to convey a message to the Israeli foreign minister about the need for Israel to refrain from carrying out a ground operation in Gaza and to halt all military operations immediately," according to a statement published on the Egyptian Foreign Ministry's Web site on Friday. Aboul Gheit also complained that the Security Council was not acting to speedily end the IDF operation. "The UN Security Council is not doing its job or quickening its pace to shoulder its responsibilities," he said, according to a BBC transcript of an interview with Egyptian TV on Saturday. "No one should leave an operation such as this for seven days, as if it wants a repetition of what happened in [the IDF's 2006] operation in Lebanon." It took the council 33 days to issue a resolution during the Second Lebanon War. In addition, Aboul Gheit spoke to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday by phone, asking her to work quickly through the Security Council to adopt a resolution that would immediately end IDF attacks in Gaza, the statement said. He told Rice that if "Israel's aggression" was not halted immediately, the IDF's operation would produce "another day of killing and destruction for Palestinians residents of the Gaza Strip," according to the statement. Aboul Gheit also contacted the foreign ministers of France, the United Kingdom and Russia and urged them to act urgently to pass a Security Council resolution that would obligate Israel "to stop her aggression immediately." He also spoke with a number of Arab foreign ministers, including Saudi Arabia's Prince Saud al-Faisal and Jordan's Salah al-Bashir, as well as Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa concerning league's efforts to get such a resolution passed in the council.