CAIRO: The Arab League called yesterday for the UN Security Council to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the deadly Israeli air campaign against Gaza, Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi said.
Twenty-seven people were killed yesterday and dozens wounded in a number of attacks in the most serious flare-up in and around the Palestinian territory since November 2012.
An official from the pan-Arab bloc said Arabi had “instructed the Arab League’s UN representative to initiate urgent consultations within the Arab group calling for an emergency security meeting of the Security Council.”
Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the international community to “immediately intervene to halt this dangerous escalation which would lead the region to more destruction and instability.”
Arabi said he had been “in touch with President Abbas to follow the latest developments in the Gaza Strip” while also continuing “consultations with Arab foreign ministers on this subject.”
He denounced the “dangerous Israeli escalation” and warned against its humanitarian consequences in Gaza.
“The continued attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israel is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, the Geneva Convention and international resolutions on occupied Palestine,” said the Arab League chief.
Meanwhile, the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, announced it would hold an “extraordinary” ministerial meeting tomorrow in the Saudi city of Jeddah to discuss the “intensifying and fierce Israeli campaign against Palestine”.
Israeli air strikes killed 23 people, including a 16-year-old boy, and Israeli troops killed four Hamas militants who reached the Israeli coastline by sea and tried to attack an army base near Zikim, a military official said.
“Israel will not tolerate the firing of rockets on our cities and towns,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late yesterday. “We have therefore significantly expanded our operations against Hamas and the other terrorist organisations in Gaza ... Israel is not eager for war, but the security of our citizens is our primary consideration,” he said.
His remarks came shortly after the cabinet approved the call-up of some 40,000 reservists, as a senior official said the military was preparing all options to stamp out the rocket fire, “including an invasion or a ground operation.”
“All options are on the table; all these steps are being considered,” said military spokesman General Moti Almoz in an interview with army radio.
“We are preparing for a campaign against Hamas, which will not end in just a few days,” Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement.