Israel's Gaza Attacks Raise Arab Anger

Even for a place familiar with violence, the last few days in Gaza have been shocking.

Since early Saturday the Israeli army has operated deep inside Gaza near the crowded refugee camp of Jabalya. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, including civilians caught in the crossfire between Israeli air strikes and Palestinian gunmen.

The air strikes, which Israel says are a response to the unceasing rocket attacks from militants in Gaza, have raised anger around the Arab world, and led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to suspend peace talks with Israel.

Criticized by many for being too close to the Israelis and Americans, today he cancelled all contacts between his officials and the Israelis.

Abbas was photographed donating his blood to help injured Palestinians.

On Saturday more than 60 Palestinians were killed. The Israelis have accused Palestinian militants of using civilians as cover, firing from their homes.

At Gaza's Shifa hospital, where many of the injured were taken, there were several men of fighting age, but doctors wouldn't say if they were militants.

In one corner lay 10-year-old Shukri Khader, who had been hit by Israeli shrapnel in his spine. He is paralyzed and will never walk again.

Israeli military officials say they are targeting those who make and fire rockets at Israeli targets. Since last week, more than 100 rockets have been fired at towns and villages near the border with Gaza.

One Israeli civilian was killed and dozens have been treated for shock. For the first time, longer range Grad rockets, manufactured in Iran, reached the center of Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people on the Mediterranean coast, 11 miles from Gaza.

For the Israeli government, that was a grave strategic development, bringing thousands more civilians into range, and it called for a tough response.

For months, Israel's leaders have agonized about how to stop the almost daily barrage of missiles and rockets. Some in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government urge a full-scale invasion of Gaza now ruled by the militant Islamic group Hamas.

So far, he has resisted calls to launch such an operation, fearing even higher casualties.

Israeli helicopters circled the skies above Gaza today, seeking out new targets. They have been striking at buildings where they believe the rockets are made and stored.

Television pictures of Palestinian dead and wounded have been beamed across the Arab world, and after days of silence, even moderate Arab regimes are expressing their anger at the Israeli offensive.

In especially strong language, Saudi Arabia accused Israel of Nazi-style war crimes, in a statement released through the state news agency SPA.

With Abbas' announcement today barring — at least for now — any meetings with Israeli officials, the violence threatens the delicate peace negotiations between the two sides.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in the region again to check on progress being made in the talks.

She will find a peace process in crisis.

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