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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Russian FM calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

RT – It is necessary to break the vicious circle of violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an exclusive year-end interview with TASS news agency. According to Lavrov, this is the only way to achieve stabilization in Gaza and in the Middle East as a whole.

The conflict has been going on for 75 years and shows no signs of stopping. Gaza’s population has repeatedly suffered in the cycle of confrontation, attack and retaliation between Israel and Palestinian militant groups.

“It is unacceptable to justify, let alone encourage, terrorist attacks, or to respond to them with methods of collective punishment in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” the Foreign Minister said, commenting on the confrontation between Israel and Hamas.

The conflict in Gaza escalated on October 7 when Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking hundreds hostage. Israel’s retaliatory operation in the Palestinian enclave, which Israeli officials say is aimed at wiping out the militant group, has left more than 21,000 dead so far, according to local health officials.

Lavrov has said the outbreak of the Middle Eastern conflict is a result of the longstanding failures of US foreign policy. “It’s time for everyone to learn a lesson from the consequences of US attempts to play behind-the-scenes diplomacy in the Middle East,” he said. “It was Washington’s line of monopolizing mediation efforts and undermining the international legal framework for a settlement that led to the current escalation in the conflict zone.”

Russia’s stance, Lavrov stressed, “is based on the decisions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly, the Arab Peace Initiative.” He called for the establishment of a Palestinian state. “The task of international mediators is to help the parties establish a dialogue within which they could resolve all controversial issues.” The minister admitted that “it’s not easy,” adding, however, that without talks, bloodshed will continue.

On Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted peace can only be achieved in Gaza if Hamas is destroyed, the territory “demilitarized” and Palestinian society “deracialized,” after warning the war is set to intensify. Israel’s tactics have faced criticism from the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations as well as many world leaders.

“It is necessary to break the vicious circle of violence, to eliminate the injustice from which several generations of Palestinians have been suffering,” the minister said, adding that without “a political horizon, the Israelis and Palestinians will continue to live from escalation to escalation.”

Before 2023, some of the worst fighting was in 2014, when Hamas and other groups launched rockets at Israel. The IDF carried out air strikes and an artillery bombardment that devastated neighbourhoods in Gaza, leaving over 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, dead.

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