Abbas calls Israel's Gaza campaign "genocide," urges UN to intervene
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas described Israel's ongoing airstrike campaign in the Gaza Strip as "genocide" Wednesday, according to Agence France Presse.
"It's genocide - the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people," Abbas said during a crisis response meeting that was held in Ramallah Wednesday.
Under what Tel Aviv has called "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli warplanes have conducted numerous airstrikes that have hit 550 targets in Gaza. More than 370 people have been wounded in the campaign and nearly 50 have been killed including whole families, women and children.
"What's happening now is a war against the Palestinian people as a whole and not against the (militant) factions. We know that Israel is not defending itself, it is defending settlements, its main project," Abbas added.
Tensions escalated between Israel and Hamas after Tel Aviv accused the Gaza-based group for kidnapping Israeli teens in the West Bank last month. Netanyahu has vowed to "punish" Hamas for the abduction, despite the fact that the investigation on the case is still ongoing.
Hamas has responded to the strikes by launching 165 retaliatory rockets on Israel, with some striking Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and even Hadera.
Neighboring countries, particularly Jordan and Egypt, have called on Tel Aviv to halt its campaign, with Jordanian leadership describing the strikes as "barbaric."
Palestinian leadership is also calling on the UN to help stop the offensive.
"We are moving in several ways to stop the Israeli aggression and spilling of Palestinian blood, including talking to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon," Abbas added.
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