Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Friday Israel’s “irresponsible” escalation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories comes under “excessive and unjustified military force”, after dozens of Palestinians were killed in the ongoing operation.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement it rejects the Israeli escalation, calling on the Israeli side to exercise self restraint and consider the humanitarian dimension. It took into account that it is an occupying power that has legal and moral obligations to protect civilians.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Thursday the international community must not stand helpless. Shoukry made the comments during a speech he delivered at an extraordinary meeting on Palestine in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He described the Israeli escalation as a continuation of the policies of “oppression and collective punishment.”
On 7 July, Israel launched a military operation on the Gaza Strip “to stop Hamas rocket fire at Israel.” The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) named it “Operation Protective Edge.” On Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said Hamas and other Islamic Jihad factions had fired over 550 rockets and mortars on Israel which has launched over 500 airstrikes.
Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported that Israel “dramatically escalated the scope of its aerial assault” on Thursday. It cited Palestinian health officials as saying that more than 80 were killed.
Egypt called on the international community to quickly intervene and take up its responsibility to end the aggression and stop acts of escalation.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said that it is continuing intensive contact with all concerned parties to end “violence against innocent civilians” and to resume the 2012 truce. It added that it regrets that its contact and efforts have for the past 10 days been met with “intransigence and stubbornness.”
When violence between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories last flared up in 2012, then-President Mohamed Morsi was instrumental in brokering a shaky but lasting ceasefire.
The Israeli operation comes after the bodies of three Israeli teenagers were found by the IDF near Hebron on 30 June. The three went missing for 18 days before their bodies were found, with the IDF blaming “Hamas terrorists” for their kidnap and murder.
Two days after they were found, the body of a 17 year old Palestinian boy was found, after he was burned alive. During his speech, Shoukry said “levels of extremism have reached unprecedented levels in Israel,” citing the viciousness Abu Khudeir’s murder as proof.