UN envoy defends Israel's deadly air strikes in Gaza

UN envoy sharply condemned rockets by Palestinian fighters in Gaza, but lauded Israel's air strikes as "a right to international humanitarian law."

UN envoy defends Israel's deadly air strikes in Gaza

The United Nations on Wednesday sharply condemned rockets by Palestinian fighters in Gaza, but lauded Israel's air strikes as "a right to international humanitarian law."

The statement came after Israeli warplanes recently staged a series of air attack into Gaza, causing deaths and Palestinian fighters fired mortar shells into southern Israel, usually leading no casualties.

The U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, argued, rocket strikes from besieged Gaza at Israel, were "in clear violation of international humanitarian law" and endangered civilians.

The argument drew a strong criticism from Hamas, the main ruling group which controls the enclave under Israeli blockade, which said Serry's remarks reflected "double standards".

In two days this week at least 14 rockets and mortars were fired at southern Israeli territory, no deaths were reported.

However, Israel has launched air strikes, including one which killed five Palestinians at the weekend, the highest single toll since a three-week Israel offensive in Gaza two years ago in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died.

The U.N. envoy defends the Israeli air strikes, saying Israel had "a right to self-defence consistent with international humanitarian law". He urged "maximum restraint" and every precaution to ensure Israeli forces do not endanger civilians in Gaza.

Hamas says Israel is the principle aggressor.

Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nono said the United Nations should "correct the position expressed by Serry" who was justifying "the aggressive actions of the Israeli occupation".

"The United Nations is required to ... respect the rights of the Palestinian people as stated in international law and in the relevent United Nations resolutions, and not use a policy of double standards," he said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 23 Aralık 2010, 15:34
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