Palestinian UN envoy calls out 'genocidal' campaign against Palestinians as Israel threatens to cut off food, water and fuel to Gaza
The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations on Tuesday described Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip and threat to impose a complete siege on the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave as "nothing less than genocidal".
Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant drew international condemnation by announcing on Monday a "total blockade" to stop food and fuel from reaching Gaza, home to 2.3 million people. Gallant said Israel was battling "beastly people."
"Such blatant dehumanisation and attempts to bomb a people into submission, to use starvation as a method of warfare, and to eradicate their national existence are nothing less than genocidal," Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour wrote in a letter to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, seen by Reuters.
Israel's defence minister Yoav Gallant labeled Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip as "human animals" as part of his announcement of a total siege on the coastal enclave, as the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants enters its fourth day 👇— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 10, 2023
🎥: @alexander_durie pic.twitter.com/AgRQAqXa4F
"These acts constitute war crimes," he wrote.
Several experts have also deemed such a move to be a violation of international law and amounting to war crimes.
Israel has gone on to launch its heaviest strikes on the Gaza enclave since Saturday, killing at least 1,055 Palestinians. The territory has also been under an Israeli blockade since 2007, severely exacerbating poverty rates and restricting access to medicine and medical equipment ever since.
At least 1,200 Israelis have died as a result of Hamas' surprise assault on Saturday.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that his understanding was that "the concept of siege is not something that in fact is going to be pursued by the Israeli government," adding that Washington was speaking with the Israeli government "about their actions in this regard".
Sullivan also said US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday discussed "the difference between going full bore against Hamas terrorists and how we distinguish between terrorists and innocent civilians".
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said he was "deeply distressed" by Israel's announcement of a complete siege on Gaza.
"The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities; now it will only deteriorate exponentially," Guterres said.
(Reuters and The New Arab Staff)