RAMALLAH – Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that Israel, driven by the instinct of revenge, has cut off the lifeline to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip in one of the bloodiest military campaigns against the Palestinian people since the 1948 Nakba with more than 15,000 people killed and tens of thousands wounded.
Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah, the Prime Minister said that the Israeli machine of killing, destruction and genocide has resumed the killing of children, women and the elderly, devoid of reason, conscience and humanity.
Shtayyeh, quoted by WAFA, said that United Nations data indicate that 312 Palestinian families lost 10 or more members in the Israeli bombing, while 594 families lost between two and five people, saying: “No words are useful, no screaming is useful, no numbers are useful, and the cries of children are not audible, and the suffering of the wounded is not felt by the Israeli criminal machine. These crimes must stop immediately.”
Shtayyeh pointed out that “statements by the Israeli Prime Minister that he is at war with the Palestinian Authority are something we experience every day through settlement, seizure of lands, piracy of our money, repeated incursions, murder and genocide, arming the colonists, and the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and we feel it with the incitement against the president, and against all of us.”
He added: “The Prime Minister of the occupation government sees the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Authority, and the government as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, a symbol of the state, a symbol of the unity of the political line, and a symbol of the unity of the Palestinian territories, and therefore he fights us every day.”
He continued: “We are facing displacement plans that are still present and are still on the table of war criminals in Israel. What the occupation army is currently doing in corralling people and pushing them towards the city of Rafah is the best evidence of the displacement intention.”
The Prime Minister stressed that “we are facing the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, and facing plans to create buffer zones inside Gaza. These are issues that we completely reject, and we urge the world to reject them,” adding that the buffer zones are gnawing away at Gaza while the area of Gaza needs to be expanded based on United Nations resolutions. Its area was about 555 km2, and today its area is 364 km2.”
Shtayyeh criticized the countries that called on Israel to make the killing proportionate, saying: “It is unfortunate and shameful for these calls to kill a smaller number of people and for the destruction to be less. Such positions are a legalization of murder. The world must demand that Israel stop the aggression, killing and destruction immediately.”
He said he asked the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, to expedite the investigation procedures, stressing that “Palestine is a test for international law and the credibility of the ICC. Either the ICC will fail the test, or it will prove to the world that it is not a tool in anyone’s hands and that it is not politicized. We will wait and see.”
He said that when President Mahmoud Abbas met with the ICC Prosecutor, he told him that justice delayed is considered absent and will undermine it, that failure to punish Israel for its crimes in the past has made it persist in the present and that it has been acting as a state above the law for 75 years.
He said, “When we joined the ICC, we were punished for that because there are those who want to monopolize the role of the victim and do not want the world to pay attention to our pain.”