Israel’s killings of Palestinians in its Gaza offensive have been called “genocide” by Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann (photo, from aljazeera.net), the president of the UN General Assembly.
He also told Al Jazeera he had never believed that the UN Security Council would be able to stop the violence in Gaza as Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, had practically told the UN to “mind their own business” by continuing the offensive.
“The number of victims in Gaza is increasing by the day… The situation is untenable. It’s genocide”, Mr d’Escoto said at the UN in New York.
Over the last three weeks, nearly 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in the onslaught, and more than 4,000 others injured. Israel says 13 Israelis have been killed.
On Tuesday, the UN General Assembly said it was set to hold an emergency session on Thursday in order to discuss the crisis after a previous session was postponed last week ahead of a UN Security Council vote on the issue.
Although a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was adopted by the Security Council, Israel has escalated its offensive and Palestinian rocket fire has also continued.
“There have been some who were under the illusion that the Security Council would do something that could help the situation”, Mr d’Escoto said. “I never thought so.
“Now we’re faced with not only with a lack of compliance but with a prime minister of Israel who has practically responded to the Security Council by saying ‘mind your own business’.
“It’s unbelievable that a country that owes its existence to a general assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that emanate from the UN.”
‘Make matters worse’
Mr d’Escoto is a former Roman Catholic priest and Nicaragua foreign minister. He is known for his outspoken criticism of Israel and last year he likened Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the racist apartheid system previously used in South Africa.
Mr d’Escoto has been called an “Israel hater” by Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, because he has hugged Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president and made a vocal critic of Israel.
Because it had allowed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, which left the Palestinians stateless, the UN have to bear some responsibility for the long-standing conflict in the Middle East, also said Mr d’Escoto.
“You have to attack problems at their root cause and the Palestinian people have been subjected to subhuman treatment for decades and this [the Israeli offensive] is going to make matters worse.”