ADDIS ABABA – The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has criticized Israeli’s deadly attacks in the Gaza strip this week, the pan African bloc said.
In a statement the AU issued late Wednesday, Mahamat “strongly condemns” the bombardments in the Gaza Strip as well as the violent attacks in the Al-Aqsa mosque committed by Israeli security forces against Palestinian worshipers.
The Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says the death toll there from Israeli air strikes that began on Monday has risen to 83, with more than 480 people wounded.
Chairperson of AUC said Israeli army’s actions, including the continued forced, illegal evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem “are in stark violation of international law”.
These actions could further heighten tensions in the region, complicating the search for a just and lasting solution, said Mahamat reiterating African Union’s “strong support” for Palestinians “legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State with East Jerusalem as [their] capital”.
Hamas militants have already launched dozens of rockets at Israel again on Thursday, a day after Israeli air strikes killed senior commanders and destroyed a multi-storey building in Gaza, according to media reports.
The escalation of the fighting this week has prompted the UN to warn of a “full-scale war”.
This has prompted the AUC’s Chairperson to call for “renewed and genuine” international efforts to “find a just and lasting solution to the conflict”, based on the existence of two States – Israel and Palestine.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict explained
The latest violence followed a month of rising tensions, though the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has gone on for decades, according to the BBC.
Jews and Arabs living in Palestine each wanted their own country there. The Jewish state of Israel was created on part of the land in a war in 1948. The Arabs who fled or were forced out became stateless Palestinians and this has been a continuous source of conflict.
Palestinians still seek their own independent state in land occupied by Israel during another war in 1967 – the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. But Israel makes claims of its own to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and is in overall control there.