Gaza massacre termed ‘war crime’
GAZA CITY: Palestinian civilians in Gaza suffered the highest death toll since Israel’s aggression began, with around 100 killed on Sunday.
President Mahmoud Abbas said the deaths in the Shejaiya district were a “massacre.” Witnesses spoke of bodies lying in the streets. Television pictures have been showing horrific, bloody scenes of dead elderly women and children.
At the Shifa hospital, there is a traffic jam of emergency vehicles by the entrance. “The hospital was totally overloaded. For many of us, these were the worst scenes we’ve ever had, not only for the density of patients and total overwhelming of our capacity but because of all this pain and agony,” said Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, who has been working in the emergency ward.
“There were children in enormous pain. Totally devastated families were bringing their dead children in and lying on the ground screaming.”
Also on Sunday, the Israeli Army said 13 soldiers were killed in fighting inside the enclave.
Meanwhile, the UN warned it was running out of supplies to help more than 50,000 Palestinians who have sought shelter at its schools in Gaza.
The head of the Cairo-based Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, described Israeli attacks 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.
A Palestinian cameraman and a paramedic were among dozens of people killed in the district. “Cameraman Khaled Hammad and paramedic Fuad Jaber were killed in a strike on an ambulance, while they were trying to evacuate the wounded from Shejaiya,” emergency services spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday called on its NATO ally the US to engage in “self-criticism” after it labeled his comments on Israel’s Gaza assault “offensive.”
“If America still says ‘Israel is using its right to self-defense’ it is America that needs to engage in self-criticism,” Erdogan told the TGRT news channel.
Erdogan said Sunday he was sticking to his comments, accusing Israel of using “disproportionate force” and killing Palestinians “mercilessly.”
“How can we ignore this? How can a country like the United States turn a blind eye to this?” he asked. “As a member of the UN Security Council, it needs to act fairly.”
As the violence raged, Abbas arrived in Qatar to discuss a cease-fire with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon due there later at the start of a regional tour to push truce efforts.
Meanwhile, French youth defying a ban on a protest against Israel’s Gaza aggression have set fire to cars and garbage cans in a Paris suburb after a calm demonstration. Tension mounted as scores of Jewish youth, some armed with iron bars, encircled a synagogue to “protect” it.