Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki sharply rejected on Thursday statements that Israel is defending itself through its offensive on the Gaza Strip, maintaining its aims is to "sow the seeds of terror."
Addressing the UN General Assembly as the campaign shows no signs of relenting, al-Maliki said Israel "is targeting families as they sleep to sow the seeds of terror among our people."
"It is not pretending it was a mistake. It is not even apologizing. It is rather reaffirming that it is its right to commit these crimes, to kill innocent people, and it is blaming the victim," he said during a meeting of the assembly on the situation in Israel and Palestine.
To date, at least 230 Palestinians have been killed, including 65 children and 39 women, and over 1,700 others injured, in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since May 10, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry.
Twelve people have been killed in Israel due to Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza, including two children.
Maliki rejected statements that Israel "has the right to defend itself" as the pretext for its attacks on Gaza, asking rhetorically, "What right are you exactly talking about?"
"Israel is a colonization power. It is occupying our land. It is persecuting a whole people. Israel would ask you, ‘what would you have done if missiles were targeting your cities?’ But Israel forgets that its occupation is the root cause of the violence," he said.
"So I would like to ask you, ‘What would you do if your territory is occupied? If your people were displaced, if your people were killed, detained, arrested, and persecuted? How can an occupying power have the right to defend itself when a whole people under occupation is the price of the very same right?'" he asked.
Maliki maintained, however, that Palestinians are "working for peace" despite what he called "decades of oppression, racial discrimination and displacement."
"However, this cannot come at the expense of our people, and it's right, guaranteed by resolutions of international legitimacy, ending occupation against our people," he said, maintaining any peace process should result in "ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and its capital."