An Israeli military artillery unit fires a grenade as seen from the Israeli side of the Gaza Strip border on May 16, 2021. [Reuters]
Israel’s Ambassador to Kenya Oded Joseph has rejected reports from the Palestinian Embassy in Nairobi that Kenya is advocating their cause in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.
Speaking to The Standard on Sunday May 16, Joseph said Kenya, a member of the United Nations Security Council, has taken a neutral stance of de-escalation to stave off the situation in Gaza.
While responding to a statement from the Palestinian Embassy in Nairobi, the diplomat said Nairobi’s main position in the fight against terrorism was paramount and could not be twisted to mean anything else.
“Kenya’s position of de-escalation does not support either side as claimed by the embassy of Palestine. Nairobi’s position on the war on terrorism is crucial,” he told the Standard.
He said Israel supports the de-escalation but cannot sit back and watch Hamas militants attack their citizens.
Joseph said the operation will continue for as long as necessary, but it will be meticulously shot at to minimize civilian casualties.
“Until we can meet their interests, structures and facilities that Hamas has set up in Gaza and stop the rocket attacks, operations will continue,” he said.
Take a short survey and help us improve our website!
Participate in a survey
“We want to stop these attacks, but it will be difficult if the terrorist groups are still firing rockets at Israel.”
Joseph downplayed the attacks on media structures, saying they had intelligence reports that the building was being used by Hamas officials.
The Israel Defense Forces acted on accurate information that the building housed Hamas military intelligence services and military assets from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
He said the situation is delicate as the militants are deliberately building bases in buildings that house media and civilians to launch attacks and use people as human shields during the attacks
There were convictions after Israeli missiles hit a 12-story skyscraper in the Gaza Strip on Saturday that housed the offices of the US-based Associated Press and Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera.
He said the fact that no one was injured when the building was hit is a sign that their intelligence is highly developed.
“No journalist or resident was injured. We have the technology to make sure the attacks are pinpoint and surgical to avoid loss, ”he said.
Traces of smoke are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system is launched to intercept missiles from the Gaza Strip, seen from Ashkelon, Israel, May 16, 2021. [Reuters]
Joseph accused Hamas of deliberately and systematically placing military targets within civilians in order to put its citizens at risk.
“They set up bases in mosques, hospitals and populated urban areas to use their citizens as human shields and then blamed the Israel Defense Forces,” he added.
The diplomat said, in order to avert civilian casualties, Israeli forces are spending a lot of time and resources preparing for the attack to give advance warnings such as roof knocking, street knocking and target clearance operations prior to the attacks.
Joseph accused Hamas of escalating the seven-day battle that began on May 10 after they began attacking Jews at their places of worship.
He said the Israeli police only got in after some Muslims fell for Hamas propaganda and started attacking Jewish prayers in the Western Wall with stored stones and stones.
“The Israel Defense Forces did not prevent Muslims from praying during the holy month of Ramadan. It is Hamas that started attacking the Jews and the police had to come in.”
The ambassador accused the anti-Israel forces of using the evictions of Sheikh Jarrah to seek sympathy and spread propaganda against Israel, adding that the eviction disputes are being handled by the courts.
The diplomat urged the international community and other nations, including Kenya, to assist Israel in fighting Hamas, a terrorist organization he held responsible for perpetrating atrocities in both Israel and Gaza.
He said Hamas militants have fired 2,900 rockets since the Hamas aggression began, killing 10 Israelis and injuring 200. 450 of them fell in Gaza, injuring and killing Palestinians.
Joseph accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of being used as a political tool to divide the blame on Israel rather than dealing with humanitarian crime.
In a statement on Saturday, May 15, the Palestinian consular in Nairobi commended the Kenyan government for taking a tough stance on the attacks.
“Kenya’s position is consistent with international law and the positions declared by the vast majority of states and international independent organizations, all of which have called on Israel to stop evicting Palestinian residents and to confiscate their property for the benefit of Israeli settlers as well repeatedly harass and attack Muslim and Christian worshipers in Jerusalem, ”read The Standard’s statement.
The Embassy expressed disappointment at the ongoing violations, despite condemnation by independent human rights organizations and relevant United Nations bodies.
UN Security Council meeting
Kenya last week called on all authorities, particularly law enforcement, to de-escalate the situation in Jerusalem before a wider wave of violence erupts.
International pressure to end the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas militants increased on Sunday, despite local health officials saying an Israeli air strike in Gaza killed more than two dozen people overnight, the deadliest attack of the current hostilities.
The members of the UN Security Council will meet today [May 16, 202] by videoconference to discuss the escalation of tensions in the area of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. [Courtesy]
Last week, the 15-member UN Security Council met at least twice in private to discuss ways to ease tension.
However, there was no agreement on a statement or another meeting to be held via videoconference later today due to pandemic restrictions.
More than 170 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli air strikes and shelling in Gaza, and 12 Israelis had died in Hamas rocket attacks.