Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and United Nations Gilad Erdan sent an official letter to the UN Security Council and to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday, calling on the UN to “unequivocally condemn the indiscriminate attacks by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilians and population centers and to support Israel’s fundamental right to self-defense.”
In his letter, Erdan wrote: “Hamas, an internationally designated terrorist Jihadist group supported by Iran, is responsible for these murderous attacks.
“The indiscriminate rocket fire constitutes a double war crime: targeting Israel’s civilian population and launching the rockets from within Gaza’s civilian neighborhoods and institutions.
“Hamas purposely places its terror facilities in the heart of the civilian population, including within multi-story buildings, cynically using the local Palestinian population as human shields.
“In addition, Hamas is presenting itself as the ‘defender of Jerusalem and the holy sites.’ This is, of course, a lie.
“It is clear that Hamas premeditated this escalation in violence and terrorism and is happy to pay the price of casualties on both sides in order to strengthen itself politically,” the letter said.
“Israel has taken far reaching de-escalatory steps to prevent any unrest and violence [including] prohibiting the entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day.
“Palestinian terrorists responded by ramping up their terror, firing hundreds of rockets and missiles at Jerusalem, as well as other cities across Israel.”
“This latest round of escalations, which has caused great suffering to countless innocent civilians, is a direct consequence of an ongoing incitement campaign by the Palestinians, directed by the upper echelons of the Palestinian Authority.
This irresponsible and hateful act has fanned the flames of violence all across Israel by exploiting religious fears. It is abhorrent the Palestinian leadership has chosen to exert its influence in such a way.”
Erdan ended his letter by stating, “The State of Israel is not interested in an escalation. However, Israel has the right and duty to defend its people and sovereignty and will continue to do so vigorously.”
Since Monday, more than 1,500 rockets reached Israeli territory after being fired by Gaza terror groups. They exploded in Israeli cities and metropolitan areas, including Jerusalem. Seven Israeli have been killed and scores wounded.