The official Soviet news agency Tass accused Israel today of pursuing a policy of "genocide" against the Arab people of Palestine through what it termed "a new war" against the Arabs.
In the first commentary on the Israeli attack on southern Lebanon, Tass said, "It can be absolutely excluded that Israel's preparation of new aggression" could have been done without U.S. knowledge and assistance.
Denouncing what it termed Israel's "impudent and arrogant policy," Tass said "the only way" to settle the Middle East crisis was by convening "an international conference with the participation of all the sides concerned."
It said Israel had launched a "fifth war against the Arabs" and this time "it is a question of genocide against the Arab people of Palestine and of its physical extermination." The agency made no mention of an attempt on the life of the Israeli ambassador to Britain three days ago.
Today's comment was accompanied by dispatches from various Arab capitals critical of the Israeli action.
Reuter filed this dispatch on Egyptian reaction from Cairo:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Sunday condemned the use of force between Palestinians and Israelis and said prospects for Middle East peace would be affected by the situation in Lebanon.
Commenting on Israel's strikes against Palestinian bases in Lebanon, Mubarak told reporters, "We are against the use of force against the Palestinians and the other party."
He did not mention Israel by name.
Osama Baz, Mubarak's senior adviser, later told reporters Egypt was consulting wih the United States and what it called concerned parties to reach a cease-fire in Lebanon and an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops.
Beirut and the Palestine Liberation Organization broke off relations with Egypt after it signed a peace treaty with Israel.
Asked whether the hostilities in Lebanon would harm Palestinian autonomy talks, Mubarak said, "The talks already face problems and, of course, the situation in Lebanon will affect the prospect of a comprehensive peace in the area."
Self-rule talks between Egypt and Israel for 1.3 million Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are part of the 1978 Camp David peace accords between the two countries. So far the three-year-old talks have failed to achieve tangible progress.
The official Middle East News Agency said the Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Saad Mortada, had lodged an official protest, the first since Mubarak became president eight months ago, with the Israeli authorities over the raid into Lebanon. Egypt is the only Arab country that maintains diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
The agency said the protest called for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanese territory.
The Egyptian Cabinet in a statement described the attack as "a blatant Israeli aggression" and warned that it would undermine efforts for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and further escalate tension in the region.
It said the attack against the Israeli ambassador in London, which Israel cited as the cause of its air raids against Lebanon two days ago, should be condemned and was in fact condemned by Egypt, but this did not justify under any circumstances the Israeli actions.
"Egypt condemns the Israeli aggression and considers the attacks, which killed hundreds of innocent Lebanese and Palestinians, a blatant violation of international laws."
The statement called for dialogue and negotiations between Israel and all other parties concerned, including representatives of the Palestinian people, as the only way for peace, and urged Israel to respect Lebanese sovereignty.