A day after the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla that intended to breach the Gaza blockade, Egypt has announced that it has opened its key border crossing with the coastal strip.
Cairo's decision to open the Rafah crossing till further notice follows a mounting international clamour for the lifting of the Gaza siege imposed three years ago by Israel, with Egypt's help. The intensity with which a majority of global powers called for Gaza's liberation from its economic shackles became visible during Monday's Security Council meeting in New York.
Britain, France, Russia and China spoke with one voice on the urgency of lifting the Gaza blockade, and for an independent investigation on Israel's deadly pre-dawn storming of the aid flotilla, in which at least 10 pro-Palestinian activists were killed. Several European parliamentarians and peace activists were on board the Gaza-bound flotilla, which came under a heavy Israeli attack.
The ghastly raid is shaking up Israel's special relations with several western partners, and influential players in West Asia, including Turkey and Egypt.
The attack has caused extensive damage to Israel's relations with Turkey, a one-time ally. The Arab satellite channel Al Arabiya quoted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying on Tuesday Turkey would take action against Israel beyond the recall of its Ambassador and the cancellation of its military exercises with Tel Aviv. Mr. Erodgan also held meetings on the Israeli strike with his Defence Minister, head of the intelligence, and other senior commanders. Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz also said Ankara was studying the status of its energy ties with Israel.
In a string of statements, Iran praised the positions adopted by European countries, but flayed the United States for its tepid response. The “ambiguous and unclear U.S. stance” proves that Washington wants to avoid showing a clear reaction to “Israeli crimes,” said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
There has been no let-up in anti-Israel demonstrations across the globe. Activists in Istanbul continued to show up in large numbers to protest. Demonstrations were also staged in Australia, while Europe braced for heavy protest turnout later in the day.