A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has strongly condemned an Israeli airstrike near the eastern border of the Gaza Strip, which left three Palestinian children dead, describing it as an “ongoing war crime.”
“The occupying Israeli army has been deliberately targeting and killing Palestinian children. This is a clear war crime in violation of international law and international humanitarian law,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said on Monday.
“Israel’s continuous campaign of excessive and indiscriminate violence against the people of Gaza has persisted with impunity and has been emboldened by the US administration’s strategic alliance with Israel,” she added.
Khaled Bassam Abu Saeed, 14, 13-year-old Abdul-Hamid Mohammed Abu Zaher, and Mohammed Ibrahim al-Sutari, 13, were killed in an Israeli aerial assault on Gaza last night.
The minors were killed for allegedly attempting to sabotage the border fence between the blockaded coastal enclave and Israeli-occupied territories, and being involved in placing an improvised explosive device adjacent to it.
“As long as the international community remains silent, the decades-long injustice suffered by the Palestinian people will continue,” Ashrawi pointed out.
“We believe it is time for governments worldwide to guarantee protection for the people of Palestine and effective accountability for Israel, which includes serious punitive measures and sanctions,” she said.
The high-ranking PLO official then appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “assume a principled and just stand and press ahead with an official speedy investigation into Israel’s egregious violations and flagrant war crimes being committed against the Palestinians.”
At least 214 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 22,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.
The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.
The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
It also called for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.”