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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 15:36 GMT
In quotes: Gaza attack reaction
Palestinian, Israeli and international community reaction to the deaths of at least 18 Palestinians by Israeli tank fire in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.

PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER, HAMAS'S ISMAIL HANIYA

"The Palestinian people were devastated this morning with this barbaric massacre perpetrated by the Zionist occupation against the children of the Palestinian people, against children and women in their own homes.

"This massacre once again confirms that the Zionist mentality is bent on this bloody killing and large-scale destruction of whatever stands on Palestinian lands."

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS

"We have called and still call on the international community to put an end to this Israeli belligerency. We also call upon the Arab community to act with us in order to put an end to the barbaric acts and mean massacres practised by Israel against the Palestinian people."

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER EHUD OLMERT

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said he and Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz "voiced sorrow over the deaths of Palestinian civilians... and offered emergency humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority and medical care for the wounded".

ISRAELI VICE PRIME MINISTER SHIMON PERES

"I am very sorry if in this event women and children lost their lives, nothing can make us more sorry than that.

"I'm sure it's not intentional. We don't have yet the full picture, but I can assure that the army of Israel and the government of Israel will do what ever is possible that these sort of events will not be repeated."

ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER TZIPI LIVNI

"Israel does everything to avoid hitting innocent civilian populations during operations, unfortunately tragedies sometimes happen. We are sorry."

HAMAS POLITICAL CHIEF KHALED MESHAAL

"There must be a roaring reaction so that we avenge all those victims. I call upon all of the resistance to activate its resistance programmes, despite the difficulty of the situation on the ground."

ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY GENERAL AMR MUSSA

"These massacres of children, women and civilians are unjustified and incomprehensible and unexpected. Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories have gone too far."

He urged Arab countries to "send a strong message to Israel and to stop matters from progressing in this manner".

EU EXTERNAL RELATIONS COMMISSIONER
BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER

"The killing this morning of so many civilians in Gaza, including many children, is a profoundly shocking event. Israel has a right to defend itself, but not at the price of the lives of the innocent.

It is very important for all parties to exercise utmost restraint and limit themselves to actions that are proportionate and in accordance with international law. At this critical juncture, all sides have a responsibility to give dialogue a chance."

UK FOREIGN SECRETARY MARGARET BECKETT

"It is hard to see what this action was meant to achieve and how it can be justified... Israel must respect its obligation to avoid harming civilians."

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

"We urge both sides to stop the bloodbath - by ending these attacks, whose victims are totally innocent people, and taking urgent measures to stabilise the situation and restart political dialogue."

SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

"This savage attack is a challenge to the international community... that must be vehemently condemned. The UN Security Council must stop these massacres and punish Israel for its repeated crimes."

TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

"Israel's disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force against [Palestinian] rocket attacks is not conducive to permanent security and stability in the region.

"On the contrary, it... fans the spiral of violence and mutual enmity and leads to the indefinite postponement of possible peaceful co-existence."

UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR JOHN DUGARD

"This brutal collective punishment of a people, not a government, has passed largely unnoticed by the international community. The Quartet... has done little to halt Israel's attacks.

"Worse still, the [UN] Security Council has failed to adopt any resolution on the subject or attempt to restore peace to the region. The time has come for urgent action on the part of the Security Council."

UN SPECIAL CO-ORDINATOR FOR MID-EAST PEACE PROCESS, ALVARO DE SOTO

"I'm appalled and shocked. It's really condemnable. This has just gone too far. So [Israelis] need to take a long hard and very professional look at it. And also they need I think to step back, suspend this operation and look at the policy.

"This is not the way to stop Palestinian rocket fire. And to the Palestinians I have to say firing rockets is not the way to get the Israelis to stop this onslaught against them."






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