(AFP) – Mar 2, 2008
RIYADH (AFP) — Saudi Arabia on Sunday compared Israel's deadly assault on the Gaza Strip to Nazi war crimes as Yemen called for the trial of Israeli officials before the International Criminal Court.
"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," the official SPA news agency quoted an official as saying without giving his name.
Israel's air and ground assault on Hamas-run Gaza has killed at least 70 Palestinians including children since Saturday.
"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.
He appeared to be referring to remarks made by Israel's Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai, who used the Hebrew word "shoah" -- generally used only for the Nazi Holocaust -- in remarks to army radio on Friday.
"By intensifying the rocket fire and extending their reach (Gaza militants) are bringing onto themselves a worse holocaust (shoah) as we will use all means to defend ourselves," Vilnai said.
The Yemeni foreign ministry, meanwhile, called for Israeli officials in command of the Gaza onslaught to be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to be tried for "crimes against humanity."
The UN Security Council "must shoulder its responsibilities in referring Israeli officials responsible for the crimes against humanity being perpetrated in Palestine to the International Criminal Court," a foreign ministry official told the state Saba news agency.
The government of the small Gulf kingdom of Bahrain also condemned Israel's "savage attacks" and urged the international community to "provide protection to civilians," according to the official BNA news agency.
Seven Bahraini opposition associations -- including Shiite, leftist, pan-Arabist and liberal political groups -- issued a statement blaming "the silence of official Arab regimes... and their inaction" for the Gaza bloodbath and urging Islamist Hamas and the rival Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to bury the hatchet.
The United Arab Emirates, for its part, called on the Security Council to "act immediately" to stop the "crime perpetrated by Israeli army forces against civilians in Gaza," according to a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.
In nearby Kuwait, parliament speaker Jassem al-Khorafi urged Arab leaders to set aside any differences and strive to bring an end to the Israeli offensive, the KUNA news agency reported.
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