The Palestinian Authority (PA) calls on the United Nations Security Council to take action against Israel, which has launched a deadly offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip, and stop its aggression against Palestinians. On Wednesday, the Israeli military launched a series of new air and sea attacks, dubbed as Operation Pillar of Cloud, against the Palestinians of the coastal territory. The offensive left at least ten Palestinians dead, including senior Hamas commander Ahmed al-Jabari, the head of Izzeddin Qassam Brigades. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to the UN, said the Israeli offensive amounted to "illegal criminal actions." In a letter to Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, the president of the Security Council this month, Mansour said that a "message must be sent to Israel to cease its military campaign against the Palestinian people under its occupation, including the cessation of extrajudicial killing." "This escalation, which continues at this moment, demands the attention of the international community, including the Security Council, with the aim of averting the further deterioration and destabilization of the situation on the ground and the fueling by Israel of yet another deadly cycle of violence and bloodshed," the Palestinian Authority envoy added. "We want the Security Council to act in accordance with its responsibilities to stop this aggression against our people," he stated. On Monday, Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Ehud Barak said that Tel Aviv was mulling over various options to punish the Palestinians of the coastal territory and had not ruled out the possibility of launching a new war on Gaza.
Israeli airstrikes, shelling, and artillery fire have left at least 16 Palestinians dead since Saturday.The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured. Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty. The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education. GJH/AS