Gaza Attack a 'Catastrophe': Boutros-Ghali

Assault will strengthen religious extremists, former UN Sec-Gen says
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2009 2:43 PM CST
Smoke caused by explosions during an Israeli army operation rise over Gaza City, as seen from the Israel-Gaza border, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
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(Newser) – The assault on Gaza is a terrible mistake for Israel, Boutros Boutros-Ghali tells Der Spiegel in an interview in which he is deeply pessimistic about the prospects for peace. “The war in Gaza strengthens the position of radical Islamists in the entire Arab world,” the former UN secretary-general says. Israel’s leaders “haven’t thought about the future,” when shifting demographics will make Palestinian reconciliation unavoidable, and are instead “solely motivated by a concern for election tactics.”

Boutros-Ghali acknowledges the Hamas rockets fired into Israel, but says, "What the military is currently doing is causing a hundred times more damage and will have unforeseeable consequences for the entire region as well as for the Israelis." America, the only nation which Israel listens to, will be too preoccupied with the global financial crisis to restart a peace process that the Gaza siege has set back “by years.” Meanwhile, “religious extremists will become even more popular,” Boutros-Ghali says. “For the foreseeable future, I don't see an era promising happiness.”