Israel’s Gaza operation has three purposes: Palestine’s envoy

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Israel’s deadly attack on Gaza is designed to gain popular support ahead of elections, complicate a U.N. vote on Palestine’s status and distract attention from Syria after the formation of a new opposition coalition, Palestine’s envoy to Turkey has said.

“They are doing the same they did in the past. This right-wing government is trying to win elections through killing Palestinian civilians,” Nabil Maarouf told the Hürriyet Daily News late yesterday on the sidelines of a reception held by Turkish Cyprus.

The coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are the actors that are primarily responsible for the attack, Maarouf said, accusing them of conducting the operation for domestic political reasons.

A similar attack occurred in late 2008 when the previous Israeli government launched Operation Cast Lead just a month-and-a-half before elections, he added.

Early parliamentary elections will be held Jan. 22, 2013, in Israel.

Another motive is to disrupt Palestine’s plans to present its bid for non-state U.N. membership slated for Nov. 29, according to the ambassador, who said Israel thinks an escalation in the tension will strengthen its hands in its attempts to stop the process, he said. The move is strongly endorsed by the Arab League and other leading Muslim countries, including Turkey.

“An internationally recognized state of Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly, voted in as a ‘non-member observer state’ can serve as a game changer,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) on Nov. 14 while calling on all Muslim countries “to stand behind Palestinians in their bid at the U.N. until the Palestinian flag is held at the U.N. General Assembly.”

The third reason cited by the ambassador is the Israel’s effort to distract international attention from the ongoing Syrian crisis, especially in the aftermath of last week’s unification of the Syrian opposition under a single umbrella. “Look what we have been discussing for the last two days. Is anybody talking about Syria?” he said.

The ambassador’s opinion is also shared by Ankara. “This attack of Israel is to the benefit of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad. The world’s attention is turning from the tragedy in Syria to Gaza and this works for al-Assad,” Davutoğlu told daily Radikal yesterday.

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