Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Israel News Photo: (photo file)

The Hamas produces terror while we are exercising our rights to self-defense.

Syrian President Bashar Assad spoke Saturday by phone with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and discussed with him the military situation in Gaza.

According to the Arab daily, A-sharq Al-awsat, Assad called upon Medvedev to implement steps on the international arena to pressure Israel to stop “the murderous actions,” to remove the blockade on the Gaza coast and to open the border crossings.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem received phone calls on Saturday from Britain’s Foreign Minister David Miliband, along with the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Moratinos.

The conversations dealt with ways to stop the Israeli military actions in Gaza. Media sources report that Britain will bring forward an initiative in this matter to the U.N. Security Council.

The Security Council had previously failed to vote on a Libyan draft resolution to call for an immediate ceasefire. The resolution was rejected after U.S. and British ambassadors said that it contained nothing about Arab attacks on Israel.

Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N., Gabriela Shalev, said that Israel would continue to do whatever is necessary to protect itself against terrorism.


Turkey: Direct Talks between Israel and Syria were Torpedoed

Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan, stated Saturday that the IDF’s military actions in Gaza torpedoed the talks between Syria and Israel on a sensitive point when the sides were the closest to direct negotiations than ever.

The Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat reports in an interview with Turkey’s official television station, Babacan noted that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was planning to phone Prime Minister Olmert the same morning that Israel’s Operation Cast Lead began and ask him regarding “only one word” that still remained in dispute between Israel and Syria.

Babacan emphasized that due to Israel’s military action, he had decided to freeze negotiations. Nonetheless, Babacan added that negotiations between Israel and Syria would most likely be renewed when conditions would permit. He added that Turkey would not cut off contact with Israel under the present circumstances. He emphasized that diplomacy will continue in order to “obtain a ceasefire and restore the calm in the area.”

Livni: No Ceasefire until Israel Achieves its Goals

In contrast to Syria’s and Turkey’s calls for a ceasefire, Jerusalem is opposed to stopping the IDF’s military actions in Gaza until its operational goals are achieved. At Sunday's Cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated, “The purpose of the intensive military actions in the last few days is in order to repel the existing pressure for a ceasefire and to create more time to allow for the continuation of operations in order to achieve the operational goals.”

“In all of our talks, I have emphasized to the world that I am against any ‘narrative’ that equates us with the Hamas. The Hamas produces terror while we are exercising our right to self-defense,” Livni added.

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