Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Monday accused Western nations of giving Israel a “licence to kill” in its war against the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
Israel has been bombing Gaza since Hamas gunmen poured across its border with the Palestinian territory on October 7 and, according to Israeli officials, killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry on Monday said more than 5,000 people, also mainly civilians, have been killed in the Israeli bombardment. AFP has been unable to independently verify the tolls.
“What we hear from the mouth of the occupation (Israeli) leaders on preparations for a land invasion means more crimes, atrocities and forced displacement,” Shtayyeh told the start of a Palestinian Authority government meeting.
“We condemn the statements that constitute a licence to kill and give Israel political cover to commit massacres and spread destruction in Gaza,” he added.
US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other leaders have visited Israel in recent days reaffirming its “right to defend” itself, while calling on the Israeli government to stay within international humanitarian law.
Biden and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Italy reaffirmed the stance in a statement released Sunday after video talks.