'Israeli strikes on Gaza ploy to thwart statehood bid'

Senior Fatah official Shaath says Netanyahu looking for excuse to cause military escalation; calls retaliatory strikes a "war crime."

nabil shaath 311 (photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
nabil shaath 311
(photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
Israel's strikes on the Gaza Strip in response to terror attacks that killed 8 Israelis on Thursday are part of efforts by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to thwart the Palestinians bid for UN statehood recognition, Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath claimed in a statement.
"The Israeli insanity will not hold back the Palestinian leadership from going to the UN; on the contrary it will give us a stronger motivation to continue our move,” Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted Shaath as saying following IAF airstrikes that killed seven in Gaza.
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Shaath stated that Israel wanted to find an excuse to carry out "collective punishment" against the Palestinian people which he called a "war crime," aimed at frustrating the Palestinian Authority's efforts to avoid armed conflict.
Earlier on Thursday, Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat warned Israel against "any irresponsible action" in the Gaza Strip in response to the terror attacks.
"Israel stands warned of any possible aggressive action or collective punishment measures against the Palestinian population in Gaza," Erekat said in a statement.
Erekat stated that the Palestinian Authority is "against violence in all its forms," however, he added that such attacks should not be used by Israel as "a pretext for aggression."
The PA official called on the international community to ensure calm in the region.
Earlier on Thursday, Hamas warned Israel not to attack the Gaza Strip, following a statement by Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the IDF would strike back at the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza following the deadly triple terror attack.
As a precaution, Hamas sent its senior commanders into hiding and evacuated command centers in anticipation of IDF strikes in response to the terror attack that IDF sources speculated originated in the Gaza Strip.
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