Husam Zomlot, Palestine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, has said Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is a “war crime” and that pro-Israel statements from countries like the US and UK were giving ‘Israel’ the “green light” to continue its attack in the coastal enclave.
“You base your entire bombardment of an entire city that is Gaza … that is besieged for the last 16 years by air, besieged by land, besieged by sea – and you attack them every once in a while under the pretext of information. This is a very well defined war crime,” Zomlot told Al Jazeera from Ramallah.
“Under international law, the only people who have rights here are the occupied people. They have the right to defend themselves, their families and to defend their land. Therefore, this whole talk of Israel’s right to self defense – to defend itself as per the US statements the UK statements, some Western country’s statement – is simply giving Israel … a green light to continue its murderous policies, to continue its war crimes.”
Moreover, in an interview with the BBC, Zomlot said, “Violence and conflict between Gaza and ‘Israel’ is absolutely misguided and misleading.”
“What we call on the international community is very clear. This aggression must end. Israel’s blockade of Gaza and occupation must end. Israel’s colonial policy in the West Bank and settlement expansion must end. International law must be applied. International duplicity and double standards in comparison to the position regarding Ukraine.. is absolutely mind-boggling,” Zomlot added.
Since Friday afternoon, Israeli occupation has been launching a series of air strikes and artillery fire on the coastal enclave, announcing it started a new military operation against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza; the operation was dubbed “Breaking Dawn”.
The Israeli attacks targeted different areas: Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south of the strip, al-Shuja’iya neighborhood and Jabalia camp in the north, and a residential building in central Gaza.
So far, the death toll from the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has risen to 51. The aggression comes after days of tension with the Islamic Jihad movement after a senior leader of the group, Bassam al-Saadi, was brutally arrested and attacked last Monday by Israeli forces during a military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
Saadi’s son-in-law, Ashraf al-Jada, was also arrested in the raid; Saadi’s wife sustained injuries during the arrest and was taken to hospital for treatment. During the same raid, Israeli forces also shot and killed 17-year-old Palestinian Dirar al-Kafrayni.
Quoting Ahmed Mudalal, an Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, Quds News Neywork reported that the movement had made demands on Israeli occupation through Egyptian mediators, including the release of the al-Saadi and another detainee who has been on an open-ended hunger strike for over 155 days in protest against his administrative detention, a halt to West Bank raids, and the lifting of the Gaza blockade. He said they had not received a response.
The strikes also came after days of border closures, including the closure of the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing, which is responsible for the flow of fuel needed for Gaza’s sole power plant.
Earlier this week, Israeli occupation closed roads around Gaza and sent reinforcements to the border as it braced for a response after the arrest of al-Saadi, the report said.
Responding to the aggressive attacks, the Islamic Jihad, as Quds News Network, said in a statement, “The enemy has begun a war targeting our people, and we all have the duty to defend ourselves and our people, and not allow the enemy to get away with its actions which are aimed at undermining the resistance and national steadfastness.”
Israel’s military warned on Saturday that deadly air raids on Gaza could last a week, as it attacked the besieged coastal enclave for a third day in the worst aggression since last year’s war, AFP reported.
An Israeli military spokesman said its forces were “preparing for the operation to last a week,” and told AFP that the forces are “not currently holding ceasefire negotiations”.