Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

France condemns Israel land offensive in Gaza

©

Video by Sophie DAVIDSON

Latest update : 2009-01-04

"France condemns the Israeli ground offensive against Gaza as it condemns the continuation of rocket firing," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that this was interfering with international efforts to bring peace to the region.

Ask our journalists posted in Israel and the Palestinian Territories your questions

 

Interview: "Solidarity on the Palestinian streets, not among the elites"

 

AFP - France spearheaded alarmed reaction from European nations as Israeli tanks and troops pushed into the Gaza Strip, revealing a sharp difference in tone from the official line in Washington.
  
At least 460 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in an eight-day bombing campaign, according to Gaza medics, as Israeli tanks clashed overnight with Hamas fighters who fired back with mortars and rockets.
  
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the decision to send ground forces into Gaza after a week of air strikes was a "dangerous military escalation", while Britain called for an immediate ceasefire.
  
The European Union's new Czech presidency said Israel did not have the right to take military actions "which largely affect civilians," though its launching of land operations in the Gaza Strip was no surprise.
  
But the US State Department said any Gaza ceasefire must not allow a return to the status quo.
  
"We are working toward a ceasefire that would not allow a reestablishment of the status quo ante, where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza and to condemn the people of Gaza to a life of misery," said spokesman Sean McCormack.
  
President George W. Bush was briefed on the latest developments and US officials were in regular contact with Israeli, regional and European leaders, the White House said.
  
Bush has said the Israeli strikes were in self-defense after Hamas let a six-month ceasefire lapse on December 19 and fired rockets at Israel, and accused Hamas of putting Palestinian lives at risk by hiding among them.
  
Israel's military operation has brought thousands of people across the world onto the streets in protest.
  
The United Nations Security Council -- which has been criticised by Arab nations for failing to respond to Israel's military action -- responded by calling a special meeting for late Saturday.
  
UN chief Ban Ki-moon "called for an immediate end to the ground operation, and asked that Israel do all possible to ensure the protection of civilians and that humanitarian assistance is able to reach those in need," his office said in a statement.
  
The secretary general spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and "conveyed his extreme concern and disappointment," said the statement.
  
"He is convinced and alarmed that this escalation will inevitably increase the already heavy suffering of the affected civilian populations."
  
After Israeli tanks entered Gaza, a spokesman for Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told AFP the action was more "defensive than offensive".
  
At the same time, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said: "Even the indisputable right of the state to defend itself does not allow actions which largely affect civilians."
  
France, which held the rotating EU presidency until December 31, 2008, went further, with Kouchner saying his country "condemns the Israeli ground offensive against Gaza just as it condemns the continuing firing of rockets".
  
"This dangerous military escalation complicates the efforts undertaken by the international community... to stop the fighting, bring immediate aid to civilians and find a permanent ceasefire," he added.
  
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Israel's latest action reinforced the need for an immediate ceasefire.
  
"Unfolding events show the urgent need for the immediate ceasefire that we have called for," he said in a statement.
  
Miliband said diplomatic efforts to find a solution continue, citing a visit by EU foreign ministers and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the region on Sunday and Monday respectively.
  
Earlier Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Olmert to halt military action in Gaza, Brown's office said.
  
"Rocket attacks from Hamas must stop, and we have called for a halt to Israeli military action in Gaza. Too many have died, and we need space to get humanitarian supplies to those who need them," a statement said.
  
Spain also called on Israel to end its ground offensive and urged Hamas to stop launching rockets.
  
Foreign ministers from the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference expressed "disappointment" at the UN Security Council's failure to act and "strongly condemned the brutal and sustained aggression" against the Palestinians.
  
In Cairo, the head of the Arab League, Amr Mussa, accused the UN Security Council of "ignoring" the situation in Gaza.
  
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Abul Gheit said Israel took the UN Security Council's failure to issue a resolution calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as a "green light" for invading Gaza.

 

Read our "Observers"" account on Israel's high-tech weaponry.

Note: Because of the high number of user reactions to the Gaza conflict, we are posting only a selection on the site. Please keep your reactions short, relevant and civil. (See our Rules of conduct.)

Date created : 2009-01-04

Comments

COMMENT(S)