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(photo credit: unknown)
Palestinian Authority leaders on Wednesday called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to halt its attacks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and accused Israel of exploiting the fighting in the North to step up its military operations against the Palestinians.
The appeal came as 12 Palestinians were killed and more than 50 injured in different confrontations with the IDF.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who met in Gaza City on Tuesday night with a United Nations delegation, called for an immediate cease-fire with Israel and urged its members to work toward ending the Israeli raids.
PA officials said the UN team did not propose anything new to end the violence.
"The only issue that President Abbas focused on was to find a way to stop this Israeli escalation on the ground," Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Abbas, said after the meeting. "This is the main topic. This is what we are looking for, apart from the humanitarian crisis which we suffer from."
Another PA official expressed deep disappointment with the failure of the international community to put pressure on Israel to halt its military attacks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"The war in Lebanon has diverted attention from the other war in the Palestinian territories," he said. "Israel is waging a war against the Palestinians and their government and no one seems to care. People are being killed every day in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."
The Central Committee of Abbas's Fatah party urged the UN Security Council to pass a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire between the Palestinians and Israel.
The committee, which held an emergency meeting in Gaza City on Tuesday night, also called for a cessation of hostilities in Lebanon.
A statement issued by the committee called for holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East to prevent a further escalation of the violence that is threatening to sweep the whole region.
"We urge an international peace conference on the basis of the Arab peace initiative endorsed at the Beirut Arab summit and on the road map," the statement said, holding the international community fully responsible for curbing the collapse of the peace process.
The statement also urged Arab leaders to act quickly to end "the dangerous Israeli offensive" against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples.
It also demanded that Arabs "draw a unified strategy for recovering our land and prisoners and the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."
The PA has joined Lebanon, Djibouti, Algeria, Egypt, Qatar and Sudan in supporting a Yemeni proposal for convening an emergency Arab summit, but the number remains short of the necessary majority of two-thirds of the 22 Arab League members.
The Hamas government also expressed deep concern over the growing violence, accusing Israel of seeking to destroy the infrastructure and elected government of the Palestinians. "Israel is trying to create new facts on the ground by undermining the government and destroying infrastructure," said Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas government.
He also expressed "astonishment" at the failure of the Arab countries to intervene to stop the Israeli attacks. "The failure to take action will encourage Israel to escalate its offensive," he said.
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