Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Sunday accused Israel of committing “war crimes” almost imminently offensive all week on Gaza while urging international pressure at a UN Security Council session.
“Some may not want to use those words (war crimes and crimes against humanity), but they know they are true,” al-Maliki said in the virtual session of the crisis on Sunday.
He also renewed the accusation – angrily denounced by Israel – that Tel Aviv is pursuing one apartheid policy against the Palestinians.
“It simply came to our notice then. Act now so that freedom can prevail, not apartheid, ”he told the Security Council.
From violence erupted on Monday, at least 188 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, including 55 children. More than 1,200 people have been injured. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 13 Palestinians.
Israel has reported ten deaths, including two children, from thousands of missiles fired from Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian groups, many of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
Al-Maliki, who is part of the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip and has fired rockets at Israel, expressed regret over the Israeli deaths, but urged the Security Council to examine the balance of power.
Israel “is an occupying colonial power. Any assessment of the situation that does not take this fundamental fact into account is biased,” al-Maliki said.
“Israel always says: put yourself in our shoes. But Israel does not wear shoes. He wears military boots. “
Israel assaults Hamas
Meanwhile, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, premeditatedly attacked Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.
“It has been completely premeditated by Hamas to gain political power,” Erdan said.
He said Hamas had escalated tensions due to internal Palestinian political maneuvers after AP President Mahmoud Abbas delayed the expected elections.
When Amer Quneibi, 14, was interrogated by Israeli authorities for throwing stones at settlers in Hebron, her family could not be by her side.
– AJWitness (@AJWitness) May 16, 2021
Hamas said its rocket against Israel responded to the repeated elevation of Israeli forces from the Al-Aqsa Mosque site in occupied East Jerusalem earlier this month amid high tensions by force movements. expel Palestinian families in the city to make way for Israeli settlers.
“Do you really think this property dispute is what caused Hamas to launch these large-scale attacks on the people of Israel?” Erdan said.
He thanked the United States, which had delayed the UN session, and called on the world body to condemn Hamas.
“Hamas targets civilians; Israel is targeting terrorists, “Erdan said.
“Israel is making every effort to avoid civilian casualties; Hamas is making every effort to increase civilian casualties. “
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire, saying in his speech to the council that hostilities between the two sides were “totally horrific” and urged them to “allow mediation efforts are intensified and successful “.
Last week the UNSC had met in private twice due to the worsening violence, but so far has not been able to agree on a public statement because the US – a strong ally of Israel – did not believe it would be useful, diplomats said.
China lamented that the United States has blocked a UNSC statement on Israeli-Palestinian violence, as it urged more international efforts to stop the bloodshed.
“We call on the US to assume its responsibilities, take a fair stand and together with the majority of the international community support the Security Council to alleviate the situation,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. chair Sunday’s meeting while China chairs the council for May.
The United States told the UNSC that it has made it clear to Israel, the Palestinians and others that they are willing to offer support “if the parties seek a ceasefire.”
“The United States has been working tirelessly through diplomacy to try to end this conflict,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 15-member council.
“Because we believe that Israelis and Palestinians have the same right to live in security.”
The UN envoy to the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, urged the international community to “take steps now to allow the parties to back down.”
The truce efforts of Egypt, Qatar and the UN so far have shown no sign of progress.
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people on Sunday, doctors said, making it the deadliest individual attack in seven days of heavy fighting.
The United States has sent an envoy to the region to try to reduce tensions, but critics say President Joe Biden – who called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Abbas on Saturday – has underestimated the seriousness of the crisis.
“This is an area that has traditionally been negotiated by the United States and the United Nations … but given that this issue has been on the United Nations agenda for over 70 years and no progress is being made … The China is too happy to call the U.S. here at the UN, “said Kristen Saloomey, of Al Jazeera, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York.
“Unfortunately, at this stage, the reality is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to go here in the Security Council.”