Europe shocks Israel, backs Gaza invasion

Sunday, January 04, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

With the reins of the European Union passing from France to the Czech Republic last week, Europe instantly shifted from critical of Israel's assault on Gaza to supportive of the Jewish state's right to defend itself by any means necessary.

A statement issued by the Czech government on Saturday just hours after Israeli troops entered Gaza read:

"At the moment, from the perspective of the last days, we understand this step as a defensive, not offensive, action."

While France and England have played their usual roles, a number of other European governments have backed Israel's use of overwhelming force in response to eight years of terrorist rocket fire.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday evening and demanded that Israel immediately halt its Gaza operation.

Ban said he was "extremely concerned and disappointed" by Israel's decision to send ground forces into Gaza.

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