Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the war in Gaza is “greater than a war of extermination”. The territory’s president claimed that the impact of the conflict between Israel and Hamas on Palestinian people is “greater than a disaster” as he went on to compare the war to the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
“What happened in 1948, emigration and destruction, and what is happening now is far uglier than what happened (then),” he said, adding, “What is happening now is the ugliest thing happening to the Palestinian people, not only in Gaza but in the West Bank and Jerusalem in the last 79 days to today.”
The comments come as Israeli strikes killed 250 Palestinians and wounded 500 in the past 24 hours – with 106 of those said to have died in a Christmas Eve airstrike on the Maghazi refugee camp, news agency Reuters reported.
The Palestinian president criticised the US for its continued support for Israel claiming that the deaths of civilians is happening “in front of the eyes of the world” and America is in the lead.
If US accepts a United Nations resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, rather than vetoing it, the war may have a chance of coming to an end, he asserted. Last week, the Palestinian president also met US national security adviser Jake Sullivan. The latter reiterated US’ stance that the Palestinian Authority should be responsible for governing Gaza at the end of the war.
Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged significant changes and “a lot of work” would be needed to revamp and revitalise the authority as he said that a Palestinian state must be established in the aftermath of the war.
The Palestinian president said that “there isn’t a day without killing” in all the cities and refugee camps in Gaza. The Israeli military’s defence about “protecting itself” is without logic.
Despite international pressure, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the war “isn’t close to finished” while Mark Regev, senior adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, told Sky News that Hamas “must be destroyed”.