Meeting Of Arab Leaders On Gaza Ends In Discord

. 1/21/09

Munafa't eik hai is qaum ki, nuqsaan bhi eik
Eik hi sabka nabi deen bhi imaan bhi eik
Haram paak bhi, Allah bhi, Quran bhi eik
Kuchh badi baat thi hotey jou Musalman bhi eik!

The gain of this nation is one, also the loss is one
Only one is the prophet of all, believe is one, faith is one
The Holy Harm (Ka'ba) is one, God is one, Quran also is one
Would it have been very difficult for Muslims to be one!

Arab leaders trying to come up with a plan to rebuild Gaza ended their meeting Tuesday in discord, unable to agree on whether to back Egyptian peace efforts or even set up a joint reconstruction fund for the devastated Palestinian territory.

The deep tensions among rival Arab leaders could affect the fragile cease-fire between Hamas and Israel that ended a three-week Israeli onslaught on the Mediterranean strip. The military campaign to stop militant rocket fire left around 1,300 Palestinians dead, according to Gaza health officials, and material damage estimated at around $2 billion. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.

The violence in Gaza split Arab countries into two camps — one led by Syria and Qatar supporting Hamas hard-liners who rule the territory, and another led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia hoping to lure the Palestinian militant group toward more moderation.

The two-day gathering of Arab leaders in Kuwait that ended Tuesday was expected to announce a fund to rebuild Gaza and a unified statement about how to end the crisis there.

Instead, pledges came in vague and without figures, along with criticism for Israel and threats to hold it accountable for what leaders called "war crimes" in Gaza.

Saudi Arabia was the only Arab country to commit at the opening of the gathering to a $1 billion contribution for rebuilding efforts, and Kuwait's emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, said the reconstruction should be an "international collective effort."

It remains to be seen when the money will be paid and if it will be delivered to Gaza's militant Hamas rulers or to the rival Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

"An international effort is a million times better," said Nabil al-Fadhl, columnist for Kuwait's Al-Watan newspaper. "Do you want to give the donations to Hamas, the illegal authority?"

Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007 from its Palestinian rival, the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which now controls only the West Bank. The two groups have been unable to come up with a power-sharing agreement.

Shortly before a final statement was read, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, without naming specific countries, said leaders were unable to reach a consensus.

"Some are entrenched in their positions," Zebari told state-owned Kuwait Television.

After the summit ended, Arab League chief Amr Moussa acknowledged he was frustrated.

"Of course the Arab situation is still troubled and tense ... and we need to exert efforts to close ranks as much as possible," he said.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both staunch U.S. allies, initially blamed Hamas for the Gaza crisis, which Israel says it launched to halt rockets fired by the militant group on its south. Later, as the Gaza death toll increased and public pressure in the Arab world to support Hamas mounted, the two Arab powerhouses shifted their accusations toward Israel.

The two Arab camps are also divided about what should be done with the Arab peace initiative — first proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and relaunched in March 2007.

At a summit in Qatar Friday, Syria called for putting the peace initiative on hold — a more radical position than one outlined by Saudi King Abdullah on Monday.

The Arab peace initiative offers Israel collective Arab recognition in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from territory it occupied during the 1967 Mideast war, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees.

Israel initially rejected the initiative in 2002, but in the past year has said it could be a starting point for discussions.

Source: AP

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