‘The Israeli government is not a state’: Palestinian leader after Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip said Wednesday that Israel was not a legitimate state and urged Israel to withdraw its military and political troops from the territories.

Israeli forces began bombing Gaza in August 2016 in response to a rocket attack from the Strip, in which some 500 Palestinians were killed.

A UN Security Council resolution condemned the attacks.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for the withdrawal of Israel’s forces from the territory, which has seen the bulk of the fighting since the 2014 Israeli-Egyptian war that ended with the capture of the Gaza Strip.

Abbas also accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity, including the killing of more than 2,000 Palestinian children during the Gaza war, including many who were buried under rubble.

The United Nations also has accused Israel in the war of war crimes, including by the deliberate targeting of hospitals and civilian infrastructure.

A statement from Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who was on the podium Wednesday, accused Israel’s “war crimes against the Palestinian people” during the 2014 Gaza war and the continued Israeli bombardment of the territory.

He called for a Palestinian state on the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

“The Israeli regime has declared war on Palestine, and the Palestinian population is witnessing the most severe conflict in its history,” the statement said.

“It is time for an end to the Israeli occupation.”

“The Israeli military has become a tool of terror against the people of the occupied territories and in Gaza, and it has turned into a war machine,” the Palestinian statement said, referring to Israel’s military operation that began in 2006 and continued for the first 11 years of its existence.

“All of us are calling for an immediate end to all of this aggression, to end the occupation, and to end this war, and we demand an immediate ceasefire from the Israeli regime.”

The statement added that the international community must take action against Israel.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) began a military operation to retake the Gaza strip in 2014 and has repeatedly targeted the Palestinian territory since then, hitting homes, hospitals, schools and mosques, and killing scores of Palestinians.

Israel has blamed Hamas, the movement that governs the Strip in the West to fight against Israel, for the attacks, which it says are part of a wider campaign by Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah to destabilize the region.

The attacks have been condemned by the United States and many international nations.