At UN, Palestinian envoy, Israel accuse each other of 'genocide'

The Palestinian foreign minister and Israel's ambassador both leveled accusations of 'genocide' during a special United Nations debate Thursday as deadly crossfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups entered its 11th day.

Palestinian firefighters rush to extinguish a huge fire at the Foamco mattress factory east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, on 17 May 2021, after Israeli airstrikes. Picture: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

UNITED NATIONS - The Palestinian foreign minister and Israel's ambassador both leveled accusations of "genocide" during a special United Nations debate Thursday as deadly crossfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups entered its 11th day.

"The whole world stays silent and turns a blind eye to the genocide of whole Palestinian families," said Palestinian foreign minister Riad Al-Malki, during whose speech Israeli Ambassador to the US and UN Gilad Erdan walked out.

Speaking later before the assembly, Erdan alleged there was indifference to "Hamas' charter, which, like the Nazis, is committed to the genocide of the Jewish people."

"We see an attempt to create a false moral equivalence," Erdan said. "Israel makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas makes every effort to increase civilian casualties."

Rockets from Hamas and other Islamist armed groups have claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child, with one Indian and two Thai nationals among those killed, Israeli police say.

Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and another 1,900 wounded, according to the Gaza health ministry, leaving vast areas in rubble and displacing some 120,000 people, according to Hamas authorities.

"How can an occupying power have the right to defend itself when a whole people under occupation is deprived of the very same rights?" said the Palestinian minister, concerning Israeli claims of self-defence.

"Let's stop this massacre."

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