Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom described the destruction of the synagogues as a “barbaric act.” Gaza is seen as a test ground for Palestinian statehood, and Shalom said Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, failed the first test. "The world is looking to Abu Mazen to see if he can control this territory, and the anarchy that we saw today is not encouraging us for the future," Shalom said. Abbas said the synagogues were not holy sites because they had been emptied of their sacred objects.
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