NEWS

Gaza bombing a growing concern

Leftist opposition party Synaspismos called on the government yesterday to do more to stop what it called Israel’s «brutal» behavior in Gaza, where bombing continued for a seventh day. Greece sent 28 tons of humanitarian aid to the area on December 31 but Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Synaspismos, the main party in the SYRIZA coalition, said that was not enough. He accused Israel of turning Gaza into «an endless concentration camp» and the Greek government of «acting like Pontius Pilate.» PASOK leader George Papandreou, in his capacity as head of Socialist International, spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to organize a regional peace conference. Greece has condemned the bombing, which has killed more than 400 people, and has joined the European Union in calling for an immediate and lasting ceasefire. The head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, said that any death is «tragic,» regardless of the person’s religion, and called for peace in the region. Bishop Alexios of the Aghios Porphyrios Greek Orthodox monastery in Gaza says this is the most devastating violence he has seen since arriving in the area in 2001. «I arrived during a troubled period, as Israeli fighters were bombing the city then, but what is happening now is beyond comparison,» he told Kathimerini. «We are witnessing tragic days. There are many dead and injured and we do not have the means to look after them.» Although not in the direct firing line, Bishop Alexios says he can feel the impact of the bombing raids. «Every time a bomb is dropped, everything shakes like there’s an earthquake,» he said. «People are not leaving their homes; they are trying to stay safe wherever they can in basements.»