Civilian deaths: envoy condemns Israel 'state terror'

The Palestinian UN observer has criticised the United Nations Security Council for silence over Israel’s offensive into Palestinian territories, an assault which killed 18 civilians. It was the highest death-toll for a single strike since fighting broke o

Envoy Riyad Mansour called the Israeli attack state terrorism, calling on the council to condemn Israel and to demand withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. Delegates assembled at the request of key Arab organisations.

The day-long meeting was to discuss a resolution drafted by Qatar. This calls for a mutual ceasefire and deployment of a UN observer force along the northern Gaza border.

Reports say 80 Palestinians were killed this month, 50 in the last week alone. Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UN condemned the Hamas-led Palestinian government for rejecting international calls to recognise Israel and renounce violence. He expressed Israel’s regret for the deaths but blamed the tragedy on Palestinian militants.

The council is likely to reconvene on Friday but voting is not expected before next week.