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US, Europe not pressuring Israel for Gaza truce

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the United States and European countries were not doing enough to pressure Israel to agree a ceasefire in Gaza, after Palestinian militant group Hamas’ move to accept a truce proposal.

Turkey has denounced Israel’s attacks on Gaza, called for an immediate ceasefire, and criticised what it calls unconditional support for Israel by the West.

Ankara has halted all trade with Israel and said it had decided to join South Africa’s initiative to have Israel tried for genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Speaking to Muslim scholars in Istanbul, Erdogan said Hamas had accepted a ceasefire proposal by Qatar and Egypt in a “step in the path toward a lasting ceasefire”, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government did not want the war to end.

“The response of the Netanyahu government was to attack the innocent people in Rafah,” he said, referring to the Gazan city that Israel is targeting. “It has become clear who sides with peace and dialogue, and who wants clashes continuing and more bloodshed.

“And did Netanyahu see any serious reaction for his spoiled behaviour? No. Neither Europe nor America showed a reaction that would force Israel into a ceasefire.”

Erdogan’s intelligence chief Ibrahim Kalin met with Hamas leaders in Doha on Sunday to discuss ceasefire talks and the access of humanitarian aid into Gaza, a Turkish security source said.

Israel’s military conduct in Gaza has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks, as the civilian death toll and devastation in the enclave mount with the death toll rising to 35,034 Palestinians killed.

Its planned assault on Rafah, hosting some 1.4 million Palestinians mostly displaced in the war, has helped fuel the deepest tensions in relations between Israel and its main ally Washington in generations.

Ankara on Friday welcomed the United Nations General Assembly’s backing for a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member. Erdogan on Sunday called on countries not recognising a Palestinian sovereign state to do so after the vote, but slammed Washington and others who voted against.

“We saw that countries who lecture us on human rights and freedoms at every opportunity openly support those who massacred 35,000 Gazans,” he said, citing figures from Gaza’s health ministry. “We saw that those who said the right to protest was sacred until yesterday can’t tolerate demonstrations that support Palestine.” 

(Reuters & The New Arab Staff)

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