Palestinian diplomat says 'genocide' unfolding in Gaza as death toll passes 17,000

Ali Younis thanks the UAE's leaders for humanitarian support and compassion for Gaza

Ali Younis, charge d'affaires at the embassy of Palestine to the UAE, says the world must push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Mina Aldroubi / The National
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A Palestinian diplomat on Friday described the killings in Gaza as "genocide", after the death toll passed 17,000 civilians since Israel launch its war on October 7.

Ali Younis, charge d'affaires at the Palestinian embassy in the UAE, said Israel's goal is not only to defeat Hamas in Gaza but to "displace those living in the Gaza Strip to Sinai and to displace those living in the West Bank to Jordan".

"What is happening in the Gaza Strip is much worse than the Palestinian Nakba of 1948," he told The National.

Vast areas of the enclave have been reduced to rubble, following fierce ground fighting and bombardment by the Israeli air force that has displaced 1.9 million Palestinians according to the UN.

After two months of war, Israeli forces have shifted the focus of fighting to Gaza's main southern city of Khan Younis, as the UN warns of a complete breakdown in public order.

“We appeal to the UAE, Arab states and our friends in the world to work to end the genocide that the occupying forces are committing,” Mr Younis said.

He also called on the international community to set up safe routes for the evacuation of Palestinians in Gaza.

“These acts are considered war crimes against humanity and acts of ethnic cleansing,” Mr Younis said.

“They are a violation to all international norms and conventions.”

Israel's plan is to force Palestinians out of Gaza and the occupied West Bank, he reiterated, and this is "rejected by the Palestinians and Arabs.

"A collective effort is needed to stop this from unfolding," he said.

UAE's compassion for the Palestinians

Mr Younis thanked UAE President Sheikh Mohamed and the leadership in the Emirates for their "compassion with Gaza".

Sheikh Mohamed launched a humanitarian operation, Gallant Knight 3, to support Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

The Emirates is building three desalination plants in Gaza, setting up a field hospital and delivering tonnes of much-needed aid under the programme.

Palestinian cancer patients and children wounded in the fighting have also been flown to the UAE under the programme.

"Arab authenticity is deeply rooted in the UAE, which started with the founding father Sheikh Zayed and is carried on by Sheikh Mohamed," Mr Younis said.

He praised the Emirates and its leadership for "immeasurable humanitarian support" towards the Palestinians.

The UAE has condemned Israel's war on Gaza and called for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilian lives.

"The UAE's efforts as well as the diplomatic and political moves that the Palestinian Authority with the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas are making is to ensure that the war in Gaza ends," he said.

The violence must also end against all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, said the diplomat.

Updated: December 10, 2023, 3:05 PM