Arab League denounces Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip

Ahram Online , Tuesday 23 Aug 2016

Israeli forces carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Sunday in response to an attack on an Israeli border town

The Arab League's Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed Ben Helli (Photo: Reuters)

The Arab League condemned on Tuesday Israeli strikes earlier this week on the besieged Gaza Strip, calling on the international community to take action against the assault, state news agency MENA reported.

In a statement to reporters, the deputy secretary-general of the Arab League, Ahmed Bin Hali, stressed that the international community should not be "silent" in the face of the "blatant" Israeli assault.

The Israeli occupation forces carried out up to 50 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, according to the Times of Israel, saying it was targeting Hamas positions in response to a Palestinian rocket attack that hit an Israeli border town on Sunday.

Bin Hali said he believes that Israel aims to provoke the Palestinian people with the assault, which comes on the anniversary of the Al-Aqsa mosque arson attack of 1969.

The deputy chief also commented on last week’s storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, by 400 Jewish settlers, saying that Israel would not escalate the situation as "they are aware of the consequences [of such an action], as the mosque does not only concern 10 million Palestinians or 350 million Arabs, but [over 1 billion] Muslims worldwide."

Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray on the esplanade.

On Wednesday, Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the world’s highest seat of Sunni Islam, strongly condemned the storming by Israeli settlers of the mosque.

The anger of Palestinians in the occupied territories has increased over the last 10 months over the repeated storming of the mosque in occupied east Jerusalem by Jewish settlers.

"The Palestinian issue is the key and cornerstone of restoring peace and stability in the Middle East, which is what the international community must realise," Bin Hali said.

Since October 2015, Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 160 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. 

In July 2014, Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza killed over 2,200 people, mostly civilians, and left more than 12,000 others injured, according to UN figures. More than 100,000 people were displaced.

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