Thursday, June 14, 2007

Arabs Fear Spread of Gaza Conflict

Arab governments have been stunned by a battle that is rapidly creating a dramatically new reality on their doorsteps: a Gaza Strip controlled by the militant group Hamas and a West Bank held by the Fatah faction of President Mahmoud Abbas...

Syria said Thursday it was following the events "with deep concern and pain" and called for Palestinian unity and "closing ranks to face the Israeli occupation."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia remained silent, apparently angered by the collapse of its high-profile mediation attempts.

Saudi King Abdullah put his credibility on the line with a February summit in Mecca between Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, creating the unity government that has been destroyed by the fighting, with Abbas dissolving it Thursday.

"It's futile to bet on Palestinian unity," Saudi journalist Dawood al-Shirian told The Associated Press. "By fighting among themselves, the Palestinians are making Israeli aggression against them appear marginal."

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