GeriGündem First ladies from Mideast condemn Gaza onslaught in Turkey meeting
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First ladies from Mideast condemn Gaza onslaught in Turkey meeting

First ladies from Muslim countries Saturday condemned the Israeli offensive on Gaza and called on the international community to end the suffering of women and children there in an Istanbul meeting organized by Turkish prime minister's wife. (UPDATED)

Jordan's Queen Rania, Syria's Asma Assad, Qatar's Sheikha Mozah and Lebanon's Wafaa Sleiman joined the Turkish prime minister's wife Emine Erdogan to call for an end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas.


Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's daughter, Aisha, and the Pakistani prime minister's wife also attended the meeting entitled "Women for peace in Palestine."


"We, in the name of mothers who attach great importance to peace and human life, request that the international community press Israel to stop its attacks," said Erdogan, reading from a joint declaration issued at the end of their meeting.


"Israel must abide by the U.N. resolution (calling for a cease-fire). It must lift the embargo. Israel must immediately withdraw its forces from Gaza," she said.


All participants wore white shawls with the word "peace" inscribed in Turkish, Arabic and English over their shoulders.


Before reading out the joint declaration, Emine Erdogan denounced Israel’s attacks on Gaza, breaking into the tears as she recounted how children were caught up in the war.


"I hope our meeting will be an instrument of pressure on Israel for the immediate halt of the attacks" on Gaza, Erdogan told participants in the meeting.


She spoke of a "humanitarian drama" in Gaza and urged the international community to put an end "to the sufferings of women and children" in Palestine which "attacked the most basic freedom, that of life."


"They were killed while riding their bikes in parks. They sought refuge in schools but were killed there too. They were killed inside mosques. They were taken to hospitals but could not escape the death machines there either," she said.


"I am speaking and expressing my pain as a mother," she added.


Earlier those attending the meeting had met representatives of Turkish aid organizations operating in Gaza.


Israeli aircraft, tanks and ships on Saturday pounded the Gaza Strip into a third week, as a new round of diplomacy got underway to end a war that has killed more than 800 people despite a U.N. truce call.






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