US seeks urgent Qatari, Turkish help to free Israeli soldier

Published: August 1, 2014
Palestinian men carry the victim of an Israeli air strike at a market place to a stretcher near an ambulance in the Shejaiya neighbourhood near Gaza City on July 30, 2014. At least 15 people were killed and 150 people wounded in an Israeli air strike on a market near Gaza City, medics said. PHOTO: AFP

Palestinian men carry the victim of an Israeli air strike at a market place to a stretcher near an ambulance in the Shejaiya neighbourhood near Gaza City on July 30, 2014. At least 15 people were killed and 150 people wounded in an Israeli air strike on a market near Gaza City, medics said. PHOTO: AFP

RIYADH / RAMSTEIN: Fearing an escalation of violence in Gaza, US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Turkey and Qatar on Friday to use their influence to secure the release of an Israeli soldier whose reported abduction led to the collapse of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Kerry called Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu soon after an aide informed him of reports of the abduction, and the killings of two Israeli soldiers, while flying back from a visit to India.

The incidents led to the quick breakdown of a ceasefire Kerry had worked hard to broker.

“We have urged them, implored them to use their influence to do whatever they can to get that soldier returned,” a senior State Department official told reporters traveling with Kerry.

“Absent that, the risk of this continuing to escalate, leading to further loss of life is very high.”

US calls Hamas attack ‘barbaric’ violation of Gaza ceasefire

The White House on Friday condemned a reported Hamas attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza as a violation of the newly reached humanitarian ceasefire and called for the release of an abducted Israeli soldier.

Israel declared a ceasefire over on Friday hours after it began, saying Hamas militants attacked Israeli soldiers looking for tunnels in Gaza and abducted one of them.

“That would be a rather barbaric violation of the ceasefire agreement,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on CNN. Earnest called on Hamas to release the Israeli soldier. He said US Secretary of State John Kerry had already spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the next steps in the Gaza crisis.

The United States urged the international community to condemn the Hamas ceasefire violation in the “strongest possible terms,” Earnest said. “And we would encourage those who have influence with Hamas to get them back on to the terms of the ceasefire and to get them to abide by the agreements that they struck just yesterday,” he said.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer to the United Nations, told CNN it was not certain Hamas had carried out the attack or violated the ceasefire. Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev said Hamas militants had attacked Israeli soldiers 1-1/2 hours after the ceasefire, killing two and apparently taking one hostage. “This appears to be an absolutely outrageous action by Hamas, using the cover of a ceasefire to conduct a surprise attack through a tunnel, killing Israeli soldiers and perhaps taking one hostage,” Tony Blinken, White House deputy national security adviser, said on MSNBC.

“We strongly, strongly condemn it.”

Saudi king breaks silence over Israeli offensive in Gaza

Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah criticised international inaction over Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which he described as involving mass slaughter and “war crimes against humanity”, in a speech read out on his behalf on state television.

“This (international) community which has observed silently what is happening in the whole region, was indifferent to what is happening, as if what is happening is not its concern. Silence that has no justification,” he said in his speech.

He also slammed militants who he said were killing innocent people and mutilating their bodies in contravention of Islamic teachings and called on the region’s leaders and religious scholars to prevent Islam from being hijacked by militants.

King Abdullah named no groups but was apparently referring to violence in neighbouring countries, including Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State has captured swathes of territory, killing scores of people and forcing Christians to flee. Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam, sees itself as a leader of the Sunni Muslim world and a main player in the Middle East.

But the world’s largest oil exporter and US ally has played only a low-key role in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Gaza, leaving the main Arab efforts to its close ally Egypt and fellow Gulf monarchy Qatar.


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Reader Comments (14)

  • Stranger
    Aug 1, 2014 - 6:52PM

    Gaza seems to have become an ego issue for Hamas . I doubt if they truly care about the inhabitants – original or migrants .


  • Lion King
    Aug 1, 2014 - 8:04PM

    US has not called the slaughtering of more than 250 Palestinian children by Jewsih Israel as barbaric but has supported its action of slaughtering them


  • Mirza
    Aug 1, 2014 - 8:19PM

    Did Hamas enter Israel to kidnap the soldier? Or the Israeli soldiers were in Gaza Strip to continue to wipe out Palestinians? Even though there was cease fire but Israeli army actions were still in progress. One cannot continue to be under siege and keep taking it on the chin. There would be real cease fire when all actions would stop and all armies would move back not one sided cease fire.


  • Aamir - Toronto
    Aug 1, 2014 - 9:17PM

    Now they need help to free the soldier, a terrorist who may have killed scores of innocent women and children, shame on USA !!!


  • Fawad
    Aug 1, 2014 - 10:39PM

    You can imagine the influence of israeli on US for soldier captured, we cannot even make a statement or show our influence over 1000 innocents being killed in palestine. Shame on our divided ummah.


  • Shahriyar
    Aug 1, 2014 - 11:03PM

    Around 2000 Palestinians including more than 250 Palestinian children have been slaughtered by the Jewsih state but US did not seek anyone’s help to prevent Jewish state from slaughtering Palestinian Muslim children.


  • Aug 1, 2014 - 11:44PM

    i had expected that kind Abdullah will take immidiate action.. but his speech really wasnt that effective.

    it has been 60 years since Israel is trying to take over gaza. israel is fight against a state which has no army navy etc.. still they are failed.. and i belive they will pay whatever they have done.. right here and hereafter INSHA ALLAH


  • Sonya
    Aug 2, 2014 - 12:10AM

    @Stranger: You seem to be a stranger to the issue hence your comment is making no sense – Hammas fighting against the occupying forces of Israel enjoys a great deal of respect not only among the Palestinians but in the entire muslim world – it is not like those who have surrendered to Israel without fighting like Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian or UAE armies.


  • unbelievable
    Aug 2, 2014 - 1:52AM

    Seems like Palestinians never fail to make a bad decision – violating cease fire is bad enough but kidnapping Israeli soldiers during ceasefire is classic. Anyone really think that outside pressure is going to influence Israel when one of their soldiers has been kidnapped or when 80% of Israel is under rocket attack? Things are going to ratchet up .. mark my words. It’s already tough to find anyone to talk on behalf of Hamas and if nobody is considered a reasonable broker by both parties then things are bound to get even worse.


  • Rex Minor
    Aug 2, 2014 - 2:46AM

    The stakes are very high now! It could start an army rovolt in Egypt and Turkeys direct intervention in Palestine, if approved by the House of Saud. John Kerry the Press photographer in vietnam has done nothing in the past year other than to kow tow the line of NatanYahoo. His announcement from India that during the ceasefire Israel can continue its activities in the underground tunnels was the biggest debacle of diplomacy in 2014. We have a great spectacle of antisemite disturbances now in European cities.

    Rex Minor


  • Roger
    Aug 2, 2014 - 2:46AM

    USA is supporting a Slaughter House! Anyway USA is the Dumbest country in world. Around 1000 Palestinians including more than 375 Palestinian children have been slaughtered by the Israel but US did not seek anyone’s help to prevent Jewish state from slaughtering Palestinian Children. Shame on USA. Shame on OBAMA.


  • Waseem
    Aug 2, 2014 - 4:53PM

    USA is justifying slaughter of 1500 Palestinian Muslims by Jewish state and referring to kidnapping of 1 hire-for-slaughter Jew a barbaric action? Common sense is really missing here!!


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Aug 2, 2014 - 6:07PM

    It is too late for UAE to speak on the issue . Now they shold work for coplete eradication of those who have hijacked Islam and usr their money not only for Ummah but for the peace and prosperity of world as a whole .They have to come out of their ring closed brain if it really there .


  • Suhail Khalili
    Aug 3, 2014 - 7:04AM

    The King knew so late. Was he sleeping for the last one month?


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