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Israel: ‘All options on the table in Gaza’

November 14th, 2012
06:53 PM ET

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Israel's Deputy P.M. on Gaza strikes

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, discusses the strikes on Gaza with CNN's Hola Gorani.

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Senior Hamas member on strikes in Gaza

Osama Hamdan, a senior member of Hamas, speaks to CNN's Hala Gorani about the strikes in Gaza.

For complete coverage and the latest updates on the airstrikes in Gaza click here.

Israel is leaving “all options on the table,” including a ground offensive into Gaza, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor said Wednesday.

“Hamas needs to accept the rules of behavior in the world and not launch any rockets or shoot any of our people in our territory,” Meridor told CNN’s Hala Gorani. “We don’t want to do this any further, but if we have to, we’ll do it.”

Osama Hamdan, a senior member of Hamas, also spoke with Gorani about the strikes and called for an end to the Israeli occupation. “[Dan Meridor] is ignoring the fact that the one who started the bombing in Gaza was the Israeli side… they occupy the Palestinian land and they are blaming the Palestinians for resisting.”

Meridor maintains Israeli strikes against Gaza are in response to rocket fire from Hamas.

Meridor also told Gorani that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, spoke with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday, regarding the attacks.

“We explained what we have been doing,” Meridor said. “I think people understand it. And we need to see calm restored and people need to obey the rules of the game and not attack us.”

MORE: The former of head of Mossad talks about military activity near the Israel-Syria border


Filed under:  Gaza • Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Syria’s new opposition leader expects more from the U.S.

November 14th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The newly elected leader of the Syrian opposition, cleric Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, is optimistic after President Barack Obama’s statements about Syria on Wednesday.

The popular Sunni cleric, known for his moderate views, was elected head of Syria’s new opposition group this weekend in Doha. Khatib was jailed four times during the uprising for criticizing the Syrian regime.

In a press conference Wednesday, President Obama said he was encouraged to see the Syrian opposition organizing under an umbrella group and considers them a “legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people,” but said he is not prepared to recognize the group as “some sort of government in exile.”

Despite the fact President Obama stopped short of full recognition of the new opposition coalition  Khatib told CNN’s Hala Gorani, “It is a good step initially and really I appreciate it. This decision and all the people wait for more because the international society for about two years didn’t do anything for Syria’s [people] while the regime killed and slaughtered them.”  FULL POST


Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode

France's long and complicated history with Syria

November 14th, 2012
04:03 PM ET

The Syrian opposition have united under a new leader: cleric Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.

France has given the group its support - betting that this new coalition will help bring down the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Just a dozen years ago, then-French President Jacques Chirac was the only Western leader to attend the funeral of Bashar al-Assad's father. The Assad family belongs to the sect known as the Alawites, a group that was actually empowered in Syria by French colonialists.

CNN's Hala Gorani looks at France's long and complicated history with Syria.


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Syria

Israel in communication with Assad

November 14th, 2012
12:08 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The former head of Israel’s intelligence agency, Efraim Halevy, has refused to characterize Syrian shelling on the Israel-Syria border as neither deliberate nor as just an accidental spillover from the ongoing civil war.

Initially Israel did not respond to shells falling in its territory. But on Sunday Israel returned fire for the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

In an interview CNN’s Hala Gorani on Tuesday, Halevy said that at first, Israel purposely avoided hitting a military target; but after the second shelling, Israeli forces hit an artillery battery.

While Israel did this on the ground, it “also sent a message, an oral message through certain channels to the presidency in Damascus that this would not be tolerated," Halvey said. “It would not be to his interest or the interests of anybody in Syria to involve Israel in any possible way in the current fighting.” FULL POST


Filed under:  Iran • Israel • Latest Episode • Syria