Olmert vows to press on Gaza as Riyadh calls to stop Israeli war crimes
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday that Israel had no intention of stopping its blitz on Gaza Strip and rejected criticism that it was using excessive force against the Palestinians. "It must be clear that Israel has no intention to stop for one moment the fight against terror organisations," Olmert said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, adding that it would continue to target armed Palestinians.
"If anyone is under the illusion that expanding the range of fire will weaken Israel's operations they are gravely mistaken," he said, according to AFP. The Israeli leader also rejected critcism that the blitz, which has killed about 100 people including children and other civilians, Israel was using excessive force in the densely packed territory. "I've heard over the past days a lot of criticism and complaints that civilians are hurt... that Israel is using excessive force," he said.
"We must remember that Israel is protecting its citizens in the south of the country and that with all due respect, nothing will prevent us from this duty to defend our citizens.
"No-one has the moral right to preach to Israel for exercising its right to self-defence," he said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Sunday compared Israel's assault on the Strip to Nazi war crimes and urged a halt to its "mass killings" of Palestinians. "Saudi Arabia, which condemns the Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people and the threats of Israeli officials to turn Gaza into an inferno, sees that Israel through its actions is copying the war crimes of the Nazis," an unidentified Saudi official told the official SPA news agency.
"Saudi Arabia calls on the international community to...work to stop the Israeli war machine and prevent it from carrying out mass killings and destroying the rights and property of the Palestinian people," the official added.