Israel to allow vital supplies
Israel said Tuesday it has agreed to set up a "humanitarian corridor" to ship vital supplies to the people of the Gaza Strip. The office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the humanitarian corridor idea came from the U.N. Security Council. Under the plan, Israel would suspend attacks in specified areas to allow people to get supplies. The statement early today said the goal was to "prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip."
Pleas to Security Council: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying his people were being "massacred," urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to act to halt the fighting. "Put an end to the massacre of my people. Let my people live and let my people be free," he told the 15-member council. Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, who spoke next, was unapologetic about the military operation her country has waged. She blamed Hamas for the conflict, calling the clash one between "moderates and extremists."
Al-Qaida blames Obama: An intelligence monitoring center reports that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, is blaming President-elect Obama and Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak for the fighting in Gaza. The SITE Monitoring Service said an audio statement posted on militant Web sites Tuesday calls the Israeli offensive a "crusade against Islam and Muslims" and "Obama's gift to Israel" before he takes office.
Ambassador expelled: Venezuela ordered the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and some personnel of the Israeli Embassy to protest Israel's offensive, and President Hugo Chavez condemned the military campaign.
French fears: Alarmed by a firebomb attack on a synagogue, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his ministers as well as Muslim and Jewish figures, expressed concern Tuesday that emotions over Gaza could lead to street violence and tensions between Muslims and Jews in France.