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Dozens of ambassadors at UN hold minute of silence for Gaza

AFP . Geneva
11 Nov 2023 12:15:24 | Update: 11 Nov 2023 12:29:42
Dozens of ambassadors at UN hold minute of silence for Gaza
The UN Security Council holds a moment of silence before meeting on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, on November 10, 2023, at UN Headquarters in New York City — AFP Photo

Dozens of ambassadors gathered at the UN in Geneva on Friday for a minute of silence for the thousands killed in the war raging in Gaza, and to demand an end to the violence.

Some 40 ambassadors, mainly but not exclusively from Muslim countries, signed a joint call demanding that the international community take urgent action to halt the bloodshed and address the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"There is a need to instil humanity and wisdom and to awaken the conscience of humanity in front of these atrocities committed against innocent Palestinian civilians," Egyptian ambassador Ahmed Ihab Abdelahad Gamaleldin told the gathering.

"Two and a half million people cannot be considered incidental or collateral damage."

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas fighters poured across the heavily militarised border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages.

Vowing to destroy the militants, Israel retaliated with a massive bombardment and a ground campaign that the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says has killed more than 11,000 people, mostly civilians and many of them children.

Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinians' permanent observer to the UN in Geneva, insisted that what was taking place was "not a war between Israel and the fighters of Hamas. It is a genocide".

And "the genocide is taking place in full view of the whole world, on TV screens". 

He slammed shocking "double standards" in the international response, comparing Western countries' total condemnation of Russia's war in Ukraine to the refusal by many to condemn Israel's actions in Gaza.

"This is something that humanity should be ashamed of," he said.

He decried in particular the "blind support" for Israel from the United States, which he said had encouraged Israel "to behave as a state above the law". 

"The real friend of Israel should raise the red flag in front of their face and tell them you have to stop," he said, warning that Israel's actions were "designing a new international world order".

"We should be careful where we are," he said. "This jungle law should stop."