Killing blockaded civilians and destroying infrastructure on a massive scale: Israel is committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip

NEW YORK: The State of Palestine’s permanent observer at the UN expressed shock on Wednesday that “some still speak of the right to self-defense of a power that seeks the forced transfer and annihilation” of Palestinians.

During a Security Council discussion on the continuing Israel-Hamas conflict, Riyad Mansour was heard. It came after a vote in which the US rejected a draught resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” in the conflict and denouncing the attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7. The United States’ envoy cited the resolution’s omission of “Israel’s right to self-defense” as rationale for the choice.

A day after an attack on Al-Ahli, the meeting was held in the midst of the war’s largest escalation since it began. Hundreds of patients and civilians who had been asked to take refuge at the hospital were killed on Tuesday in a hospital in Gaza. Israel claims that the attack was carried out by the Palestinian military organisation Islamic Jihad. Mansour referred to an earlier draught resolution put out by Russia on Monday, saying, “Had this council called for a ceasefire two days ago, it would have saved hundreds of lives.” It had also requested a truce for humanitarian reasons, but the council again rejected it. Members who voted against it cited the omission of Hamas as their justification. “End the bloodbath. I urge you once more to put an end to the carnage,” Mansour addressed the council, adding that “killing Palestinians will never, ever make Israel more safe.”

“Heed the call of the UN secretary-general, of religious leaders all over the world, the Pope, the Arab states, Muslim countries of the global south, billions of people all over the world, including millions who marched in your streets,” he exhorted the audience. Stop the violence by paying attention to them. Stop right away.

The Security Council’s failure to unite has only led to further bloodshed, the Omani envoy Mohammed Al-Hassan said on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s member nations.

“This Council has been unable to resolve the Palestine issue justly and permanently on the basis of international law, including council-adopted resolutions, for many years. Victims on both sides and complete lack of security are the outcomes,” he said.

Israel has disregarded this council’s rulings because of double standards, he continued. (Israel) has killed Palestinians in massacres many times.

According to Al-Hassan, the massacre at Al-Ahli Hospital is a “dangerous escalation” and a breach of both international and humanitarian law.

“Israel is mutilating civilian Palestinians in front of the world. Isn’t this a flagrant transgression of international law and a terrorist act? He questioned the envoys.

Israeli crimes, like as famine-causing and collective punishment, were carried out by the Nazis during World War II and are unacceptable in the modern world.

He demanded that the council uphold international law and said, “Prove to us that no one is above the law, even if it’s Israel.”

Mahmoud Hmoud, a representative of Jordan, spoke on behalf of the Arab Group at the UN and stated that Arab nations “condemn in the strongest terms the massacre by the criminal IDF (Israel Defence Forces) of innocent civilians who were receiving care” at Al-Ahli Hospital. Israel alone is accountable for “this heinous war crime,” he continued.

Hmoud called on the Security Council to take “immediate action for an immediate ceasefire and end Israeli aggression on Gaza.” His nation presently holds the rotating leadership of the Arab Group.

He said that the Israeli occupation is the root cause of the conflict and demanded the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the boundaries of 1967, with East Jerusalem serving as its capital, “if we want peace and security.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, asked council members: “What is going on here? The most barbaric terrorist attacks in decades, bigger than 9/11, happened 10 days ago and it seems this council has already forgotten it, and I must remind some of you what happened.

“Hamas killed Holocaust survivors who escaped Nazis only to be killed in their living room.”

Dismissing calls for a two-state solution, he said the only solution for “curing a cancer is the evisceration of every cancerous cell, just as it was done with ISIS and Al-Qaeda.” ISIS is an alternative name for the terrorist group Daesh.

Erdan condemned the Security Council for not having done “the most basic thing,” adding: “You have not condemned, as a council, Hamas’ brutal terror attacks. It is unfathomable that you cannot unite even on that basic thing.”

He also accused council members of playing “the exact role that Hamas has written for you in their script of death and terror.”

He added: “Where was the UN when Hamas exploited billions of dollars in international aid to embed terror infrastructure within and below densely populated residential areas? Where were you? The UN knew all of this but remained silent.”

Erdan said it is “ludicrous” that the council is discussing humanitarian corridors instead of condemning Hamas atrocities.

“Calling for calm restraint and a ceasefire is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound,” he added.

Regarding the attack on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital on Tuesday, Erdan accused the Security Council, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, of taking claims made by “baby-killing terrorists at face value, without a second thought.”

The hospital was hit by, “and only by,” a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, he added, and Israel has footage to prove this “beyond any doubt.”

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