KUWAIT: Kuwait yesterday slammed the Zionist entity for its brutal attacks against the Palestinians, during an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. “Our brethren in Palestine are facing today one of the largest, fiercest flagrant offensive, carried out by (Zionist) occupation forces, targeting children, women, unarmed civilians with no mercy whatsoever and no regard to international laws and covenants,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah said.
“Kuwait greets with awe our patient and steadfast brothers in Palestine in the face of these brutal crimes by the (Zionist) occupation forces and renews its strong condemnation of these systematic crimes against the Palestinian people in the city of Jerusalem and all occupied Palestinian territories that have resulted in destabilization in the Middle East, posing a threat to international peace and security,” he added. (See Page 3)
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki criticized countries that moved to normalize relations with the Zionist entity last year, as other Muslim nations slammed it for “barbaric” attacks against the Palestinians. “Normalization and running towards this colonial (Zionist) system without achieving peace and ending the (Zionist) occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands represents support for the apartheid regime and participation in its crimes,” Maliki told the virtual OIC meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia.
“This colonial occupation must be confronted, dismantled, ended, and banned. The recently accelerated normalization will not have an impact on the sentiments of the Arab world or change their assessment.” The deadly flare-up of violence between the Zionist entity and the Palestinians has embarrassed countries which moved to normalize relations with the Jewish state – Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
In a joint statement, the OIC said it “condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric attacks launched by (the Zionist entity) … against the Palestinian people and their land and holy sites”. The pan-Islamic body demanded a complete cessation of hostilities, saying the violence was causing “severe suffering” to civilians and increased the “risks of instability” in the region.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan also called on the international community to take “urgent action” to halt the Zionist military operation and to revive peace talks aimed at securing a two-state solution. “Preserving Jerusalem is the responsibility of all of us,” he said. Reem Al-Hashimy, the UAE minister of state for international cooperation, spoke at the meeting but did not address the criticism, only calling for a halt to the violence and not specifically blaming the Zionist entity for the troubles.
Yesterday, Zionist strikes killed at least 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the worst daily death toll yet in the almost weeklong clashes, as the UN Security Council met amid global alarm at the escalating conflict. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pleaded for an immediate end to the deadly violence, warning that the fighting could plunge the region into an “uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis”.
“Fighting must stop. It must stop immediately,” Guterres said as he opened a Security Council session delayed by the Zionist entity’s ally the United States, calling the violence over the past week “utterly appalling”. The heaviest fighting in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, saw the rivals again trade heavy fire, with the death toll rising to 192 in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza since Monday and at 10 in the Zionist entity, according to authorities on either side.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Maliki accused the Zionist entity of “war crimes” as he urged international pressure at the UN Security Council session. “Some may not want to use these words – war crimes and crimes against humanity – but they know they are true,” Maliki told the virtual session on the crisis.
He renewed the charge that the Zionist entity is pursuing a policy of “apartheid” against the Palestinians. “Act now to end the aggression. Act now so freedom can prevail – not apartheid,” he told the Security Council. The Zionist entity “is an occupying colonial power. Any assessment of the situation that fails to take into account this fundamental fact is biased,” Maliki said. “(The Zionist entity) always says, put yourselves in our shoes. But (the Zionist entity) is not wearing shoes. It is wearing military boots.”
China later voiced regret that the United States was blocking a UN Security Council statement on the violence as it urged greater international efforts to stop the bloodshed. “Regrettably, simply because of the obstruction of one country, the Security Council hasn’t been able to speak with one voice,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whose country holds the Council’s rotating presidency, told the virtual session. “We call upon the United States to shoulder its due responsibilities.”
In Gaza, the death toll kept rising as emergency teams worked to pull out bodies from vast piles of smoking rubble and toppled buildings, as relatives wailed in horror and grief. “We were sleeping and then all of a sudden there were rockets raining down on us,” said Lamia Al-Koulak, 43, who lost siblings and their children in the dawn bombardment. “The children were screaming. For half an hour we were bombarded without previous warning. We came out to find the building next door flattened. All the people under the rubble were simple people.”
Zionist air strikes also hit the home of Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas’ political wing in the Gaza Strip, the army said, releasing a video showing plumes of smoke and intense damage, but without saying if he was killed. At least 58 children have lost their lives in Gaza, local health authorities said, more than 1,200 people have been wounded and entire buildings and city blocks reduced to rubble.
The escalating conflict was sparked by unrest in Jerusalem that had simmered for weeks and led to clashes between riot police and Palestinians, fueled by anger over planned Zionist expulsions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem. A “vehicle-ramming attack” yesterday in Sheikh Jarrah injured several people, including four police officers, police said. The assailant was “shot by officers”, police added without giving details on the attacker’s condition.
Wounded and sick Palestinians from Gaza were taken yesterday across the Rafah border crossing into Egypt for medical treatment. Three convoys carried 263 Palestinians, sources said. In Gaza, Abu Anas Ashkhani said his sister-in-law and four of his nephews, the oldest just 11, were killed while they were sleeping early yesterday in a strike on their home in the Al-Rimal neighborhood. “I was in the house next door,” he said when, just after midnight, “there was a strike and it was hell. “We went around to see what happened. It was surreal. The mother and the children were pulled out from the rubble.” – Agencies