TRIPOLI

DECEMBER 28 2008 13:16h

Libya`s Gaddafi Assails Arab Leaders Over Gaza

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

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He said they had failed to support the Palestinians in the enclave beyond offering humanitarian aid or discussing a possible Arab summit.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday accused Arab leaders of a "cowardly" response to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

He said they had failed to support the Palestinians in the enclave beyond offering humanitarian aid or discussing a possible Arab summit.

"These characters should be ashamed of themselves. They are trading on the name of the Palestinian cause with their cowardly, weak and defeatist stands," said Gaddafi, referring to Arab leaders and their attempts to find a common position on the Israeli raids.

Gaddafi was addressing a gathering of his supporters on Saturday. His speech was carried by Libya's state news agency Jana.

"One proposes a (peace) initiative. Another offers empty humanitarian relief. The next one makes speech and the other takes an initiative to call for an emergency Arab summit," he added, without naming individual Arab leaders.

Israel said its raids, which have killed more than 280 people in Gaza in the past two days, were in response to cross-border rocket attacks by Hamas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday blamed Hamas, rivals to his own Fatah movement, for triggering the Israeli strikes.

Gaddafi said it would be better if Arab leaders did nothing or said nothing until they were able to come up with measures to deter Israel from attacking Palestinians.

"Arabs are the ones who need peace, not the Israelis who live in peace. Who are dying in their dozens and hundreds? They are Arabs," he added.

Gaddafi derided proposals by Arab leaders on holding emergency summits.

"How many times have you held emergency summits? Is this the first time you are proposing an emergency summit? How many summits have you held on the Palestinian issue? What have you achieved?" he asked.

Gaddafi urged Arab leaders to withdraw a Saudi-sponsored Arab initiative for peace to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"You should withdraw your initiative, which you have called a Arab initiative. It is an Arab conspiracy," he added.