BEIRUT

Middle East

Arab League condemns Israeli attack as ‘war crime’

Palestinians evacuate a young boy who was injured following an Israeli strike in Gaza City, on July 20, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

CAIRO: The head of the Cairo-based Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, described Israeli attacks on Gaza that killed at least 60 Palestinians Sunday as a “war crime.” Palestinian witnesses and officials said at least 62 Palestinians were killed in shelling of a Gaza neighborhood that left bodies strewn in the streets and thousands fleeing for shelter.

‘Elaraby ... considered Israel’s terrible shelling and ground attack operations in the neighborhood of Shejaiya as a war crime against Palestinian civilians and a dangerous escalation,” the Arab League said in a statement Sunday.

Qatar’s foreign minister also condemned the attacks on Shejaiya as a “massacre” and called for a cease-fire that would ensure the lifting of a blockade on the coastal region.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was “very strong” international support for the military’s ongoing operation in Gaza.

“We are carrying out a complex, deep, intensive activity inside the Gaza Strip and there is world support for this,” he said at a news conference in the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu has said Israel won “international legitimacy” for its offensive in Gaza after it accepted a truce proposed by Egypt on July 15 that was shunned by Hamas.

His remarks came shortly after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Hamas for perpetuating the bloody conflict in Gaza by “stubbornly” refusing all attempts to broker a cease-fire.

By its behavior, Hamas had “invited further actions” by Israel, he said.

“War is ugly, and bad things are going to happen. But they need to recognize their own responsibility,” he said.

He demanded that the Islamist resistance movement take responsibility for the consequences of its actions.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 21, 2014, on page 9.

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Summary

The head of the Cairo-based Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, described Israeli attacks on Gaza that killed at least 60 Palestinians Sunday as a "war crime".

'Elaraby ... considered Israel's terrible shelling and ground attack operations in the neighborhood of Shejaiya as a war crime against Palestinian civilians and a dangerous escalation," the Arab League said in a statement Sunday.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was "very strong" international support for the military's ongoing operation in Gaza.


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