Palestinian officials and activists have denounced the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip which resulted in the killing of over two dozen Gazans during anti-occupation rallies, calling on the international community to take urgent action to stop the Tel Aviv regime’s crimes.
In a statement on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned “Israel’s brutality and deliberate killing of innocent people who took part in a peaceful march to defend their right to life, liberty and dignity.”
Abbas further called on the United Nations, the Arab League and the European Union to take an immediate action to stop the Israeli violence against Palestinians.
The Palestinian president called on the UN Security Council to provide international protection to the "defenseless people in the face of the [Israeli] occupation army, which uses killing and repression to silence the voice of Palestinians”.
Palestinian chief negotiator and secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, lashed out at the US for defending Israeli violence against the Palestinians.
"The US is leading an incitement campaign with a view to defending Israel's crimes against the Palestinians," Erekat said in a statement on Saturday.
He described US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley as a “clumsy woman who has proved her worth by showing hostility to the Palestinian people and by continuing to violate international law."
"The actions of the current US administration give Israel a clear cover in order to continue its aggression against the Palestinians who were demonstrating peacefully to demand their right to return to their homes," said Erekat.
The Palestinian official further called for an international investigation into Israel's violence against the Palestinians after Washington blocked a draft UN statement to form a commission of inquiry into the death of Palestinian protesters by Israeli gunfire along the border fence with the Gaza Strip last week.
PLO member Bassam al-Salhi called for mass Palestinian rallies in an effort to draw world attention to the Palestinian issue.
“This Palestinian uprising must be used to end the Israeli occupation,” al-Salhi said.
“We should expand and develop the popular movement to end the occupation, establish an independent Palestinian state and ensure the refugees’ right to return,” he said.
Crimes against humanity
Prominent Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti accused the Israeli army of violating international law.
“The Israeli political and military leaders are guilty of crimes against humanity and should be brought to trial for war crimes,” he said.
He also called on the international community to take an urgent action to “stop the systematic Israeli killing of the Palestinian people”.
Barghouti described Palestinian protests along the Gaza border as a “victory and an innovative method of popular resistance that exposed the Israeli occupation."
"Popular resistance has become a strategic Palestinian option that provides a solid foundation for Palestinian unity in order to end the last racist occupation in world," he said.
On March 30, Palestinians marched to the fence separating Gaza from the occupied territories at the start of a six-week protest, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
The demonstrations turned violent after Israeli forces used tear gas and live fire against the protesters.
On Friday, similar anti-occupation mass rallies hit Gaza, with Palestinians burning tires and throwing stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with firing live ammunition and tear gas.
Over 30 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military over the past week.
Israel has tightened military presence on the Gaza fence, deploying armored vehicles, back-up special forces and snipers. The regime’s forces have also the permission to open fire on unnamed Gazans.
The Return rallies culminate on May 15, the day Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe) when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven out of their homes in 1948 and Israel was created.
Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses: