Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday that Qatar had become the “world's largest financer of terrorism”, during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, currently in Israel leading international efforts to secure a ceasefire, Israeli media reported.
He added that Qatar does not have the right to finance missiles that "hooligans [Hamas]" direct towards "innocent civilians".
The Israeli president called on the UN Human Rights Council to denounce terrorism in its emergency meeting held early Wednesday.
On the other hand, UN Human Rights Council chief Navi Pillay said that Israel may be committing war crimes in Gaza.
Citing Israeli air strikes on the coastal enclave, she said: "These are just a few examples where there seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.
"Every one of these incidents must be prperly and independently investigated," Pillay said in some of her strongest comments about the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
Israel faces mounting international alarm at the continuously rising civilian death toll in Gaza, as well as heightened economic pressure due to the latest flight ban imposed on Tel Aviv by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and international airline companies.
Expressing regret at the flight ban, Peres said “The answer is not to stop flights but to stop rockets which are endangering air traffic in the whole world.”
Israeli forces pounded multiple sites across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, including the enclave's sole power plant, as diplomats sought to end the bloodshed, reported Reuters.
The offensive on Gaza has left 630 Palestinians killed so far, many of them children and civilians, including a seven-year-old hit by a shell early on Wednesday in southern Gaza, a medic has said.
Of the 31 Israelis killed, 29 were soldiers.
The Palestinian decision-making body led by President Mahmoud Abbas endorsed on Wednesday demands made by Hamas for halting Gaza hostilities with Israel, a closing of ranks that may help Egyptian-mediated truce efforts.
Speaking at a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that he supports the ceasefire proposed by Egypt to end the violence between Israeli forces and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
"There is a framework available to end the violence and that framework is the Egyptian initiative that has been put forward," Kerry said.