The ongoing attack by the Israelis on Gaza Strip is delaying the process of achieving peace in the Middle East and posing a danger to the creation of an independent Palestine, said the Palestinian ambassador to Ankara on Friday.
"The war is threatening the peace process launched by the international community to achieve a two-state solution in the Middle East," Ambassador Nabil Maaruf said at a meeting of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research, or SETA.
While describing what happened in Palestine as a "barbaric attack against civilians," the ambassador linked the military operation with the general elections in Israel set for Feb. 10 and challenged the Israeli argument of only targeting Hamas.
"It is not a war against Hamas, it is a war against every single Palestinian living in Gaza," said Maaruf. "They are changing the rules of the game. I do not think they will finish Hamas. What Israel aims to do is against the Palestinian cause and dream."
He said the Israeli operation not only dented the will to bring peace to the region, but also strengthened the division between the Palestinians, namely between al-Fatah and Hamas.
Watching all the details
Maaruf said the Israelis were watching all the details in Gaza and that they wanted Hamas to take over Gaza. "It is in their interest to divide Palestine É they do not want an independent Palestinian state," he said.
"The division is affecting the regional hopes and dreams of Palestinians, separating the West Bank and Gaza and killing the hope," the ambassador said.
He said he hoped all parties would implement the U.N. resolution that calls for a cease-fire. Hamas, which controls Gaza, on Friday said it rejected the resolution on the argument and that it was not in the best interest of Palestinians, according to news reports.
"For us, the most important thing now is to achieve a cease-fire and allow humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinian people to help them and to stop the suffering," said Maaruf.
He said the next stage after the cease-fire would be to achieve reconciliation among Arab countries and Palestinians, and to this end, Turkey was moving ahead with efforts to bridge the differences.
In pursuit of active diplomacy, Turkey came up with a two-stage plan in the wake of the war in Gaza, suggesting that first a lasting cease-fire must be established and then reconciliation must be reached among Arab countries and among Palestinians.
On Hamas, Maaruf said the group must be convinced to be part of a solution and then a unity government must be established in Palestine.
Envoys meet with Toptan
Ambassadors to Ankara from six Islamic countries met with Parliament Speaker Köksal Toptan on Friday ahead of an Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC, event. Toptan discussed the latest developments in Gaza with the ambassadors of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt.
The parliament speaker previously called for an emergency meeting in Istanbul on Jan. 14 of the OIC Parliamentary Union. Speaking to reporters, Omani Ambassador Mohammad Nasser Ahmet al Wahabi said Israel was an obstacle to peace in the Middle East.