Major Change in Tide of International Opinion - For Now
As Iran urges Arab nations to send military aid to Gaza to increase its attacks on Israel, Western leaders plainly condemn the terrorism.
For the first time, international leaders abandoned attempts to “balance” their statements about Israel's response to the constant rocket fire and Wednesday's bombing attack on a public bus in Tel Aviv, even while Iran brazenly confirmed that the Islamic Republic had supplied Gaza terrorists with the Fajr-5 missiles fired at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and urged Arab nations to send more arms to the region.
Generally world leaders "balance" their condemnations of attacks on Israeli civilians with mitigating statements that attempt to create a moral equivalency between Israeli rocket fire victims and Gazans, who are on the receiving end of Israel's response. Israel makes every attempt to avoid harming civilians and even sends leaflets to warm them before firing, while Hamas places launchers in residential areas.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, had just met with reporters following a meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas when news of the bombing on Dan bus 142 in Tel Aviv was broadcast on the radio.
Ban condemned the bombing in a statement released by his staff. “There are no circumstances that justify the targeting of civilians,” the statement read. “The Secretary-General is saddened and expresses his sympathy to those injured in the blast.”
The White House also slammed the bombing and those who masterminded it. Branding it plainly as a “terrorist attack,” the statement said, “These attacks against innocent Israeli civilians are outrageous. The United States will stand with our Israeli allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the chorus of condemnations as she boarded a plane to Cairo.
"The United States strongly condemns this terrorist attack and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the people of Israel,” she said. “The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that Israel requires.”
France and Britain have also condemned the attack, which wounded 21, three of whom are in moderate-to-serious condition.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius issued a statement Wednesday, saying, “I condemn in the strongest terms the attack that has just taken place in Tel Aviv, targeting civilians at a time when everything must be done to obtain a ceasefire."
“It is urgent to establish a lasting ceasefire,” he repeated. “I will speak again today with my Israeli, Egyptian and American counterparts,” he vowed.
“If this was a terrorist attack, we condemn it unreservedly,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said. “We are clear that terrorists must not be allowed to set the agenda.”
“This shocking violence further underlines the urgent need for an immediate de-escalation of violence and a full ceasefire,” he added.