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  May 2004

Current Affairs
Hamas leader Rantissi’s assassination
condemned worldwide


Ramallah: Germany, Egypt, Italy, Iran other countries of the world strongly condemned the assassination of Hamas leader Dr Abdelaziz Rantissi, who was killed when his car was destroyed in Israeli missile attack on April 17.

The world community including the UN condemned the Israeli act. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Quori said that Palestinian cabinet was fully aware of the fact that the terrorist campaign of Israel was being carried on only on the full encouragement of US. While White House said that Hamas was a terrorist organisation and Israel had full right to defend itself.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat vigorously condemned Israel’s assassination of Hamas chief Abdelaziz Rantissi, in an official statement released in Ramallah.

“President Arafat vigorously condemns the crime of the assassination of Dr Abdelaziz Rantissi and two members of his entourage,” the statement issued by the Palestinian Authority said. President Arafat and the Palestinian leadership said that “the crimes of the barbaric occupiers will only reinforce our resistance, the statement added, calling Rantissi a courageous leader. The resistance is our only path”.

European Union

The European Union also condemned the assassination by Israel of Hamas chief Abdelaziz Rantissi as well as an earlier Palestinian suicide bombing, but insisted that the roadmap to peace was still alive.

In a statement released on behalf of the EU’s presidency, Ireland’s foreign minister Brian Cowen condemned the assassination of Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantissi by Israeli forces and the suicide bombing at the Erez crossing earlier in the day and called for an immediate end to such violence.

He once again reminded the Israeli government that extra judicial killings are contrary to international law and pointed out that “respect for international law should mark an important distinction between democratically elected governments and terrorist groups”.

Cowen emphasised that high-level diplomatic meeting of the quartet promoting a Middle East peace plan, must push negotiations back to the forefront in the region after the surge in violence.

This is the message that the EU and the quartet, and everyone in the international community has to continue to convey even against the present pessimistic background in which we are operating, Ireland’s foreign minister said.

The present situation confirms that there is no guarantee of peace and security for Israelis as long as the cyle of violence continues. And there is no prospect through violence of obtaining the establishment of a democratic and viable Palestinian state, he added.

Cowen also cautioned that Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s decision, which was backed by US president George W Bush to withdraw from the Gaza Strip would be placed under the spotlight during the quartet’s meeting.

The EU condemnation contrasted sharply with the US defence of the missile attack.

The White House said Hamas was a terrorist organization and Israel has the right to defend itself, but also warned the Israeli government to carefully consider the consequences of its actions.

Asked if he was disappointed that the United States did not issue an outright condemnation of the killing, EU external relations commissioner Chris Patten responded with an emphatic “yes”.

We believe that targeted assassinations are illegal, they are against international law and any conception of law. This is not a way of promoting peace, Patten told journalists on the sidelines of an EU-Asia ministerial meeting.


The assassination of the Hamas leader also drew widespread condemnation from Europe, with Pope John Paul II describing the killing as an inhuman act. “I am following with great sadness the tragic news coming from the Holy Land and Iraq. The shedding of blood by brothers must end. Such inhuman acts are contrary to the will of God,” said in his weekly angelus at the Vatican.

France condemned the attack perpetrated against the head of Hamas, Abdelaziz Rantassi, which caused his death, added a statement issued by the French foreign ministry.

It stated extra-judicial executions are contrary to international law and unacceptable. Each state in the (Middle East) region has the right to protect its citizens, but not with contempt of the law.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, said: Germany, like the European Union, has always rejected targeted killings. “We consider that these means should not be employed, and the events on the ground fill us with great concern.

Russia warned that the assassination would worsen already fraught tensions in the Middle East. “We do not contest Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorist acts and protect its citizens but it must act within international law. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said.

Greek foreign ministry spokesman Georges Koumsout-sakos condemned the illegal execution, while Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen warned Israel not to direct a similar attack at Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

WMC Condemns Violence against Muslims in Central Nigeria by Extremist Non-Muslim groups

The Secretary General of World Muslim Congress Raja Zafarul Haq has appealed to the Govt. of Nigeria to protect the Muslims in central Nigeria town of Yelwa from violence by extremists. In a letter to the High Commissioner of Nigeria in Islamabad, the WMC Secretary General said: -

“The WMC has received alarming reports from Nigeria by e-mail and fax about the reported massacre of Muslim Nigerians by Extremists and militiamen in Yelwa Town in Central Nigeria.
A Reuter news agency report dated May 5, says that hundreds of dead bodies of Nigerian Muslims killed by these militiamen were found on the street of Yelwa town.
I appeal to the Nigerian High Commission to convey our deep concern over the reported massacre of Muslims in the above mentioned town in Central Nigeria and to take immediate measures to stop this massacre and give relief and compensation to the Muslim victims and their families.
Your Excellency is aware of the effect this massacre of Muslims in Nigeria by armed militias will have on the Muslims world-wide which may result in reprisals on the Christian population in Muslim countries. To avert such a situation, the promptest remedial measures by Nigeria should be to disarm them at once. We will gratefully appreciate if the WMC is informed by fax or e-mail about th e situation. The WMC stands for peace and amity between Christians and Muslims world-wide and we pray to Allah for peace and goodwill to prevail in Nigeria between Muslims and the followers of other faiths.”