Turkey and Iran accuse Israel of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘war crimes’ in Gaza

Turkey and Iran accuse Israel of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘war crimes’ in Gaza

Earlier this week, Iran and Turkey accused Israel of committing “war crimes” after denying to consider the Israeli airstrike to be used for self-defense. 
 
AFP reported Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday condemning Israel of “ethnic cleansing” towards Palestinians. 
 
“Israel is committing ethnic cleansing by ignoring peace in this region and violating international law,” Erdogan said. “It is occupying the Palestinian territory step by step.”
 
Erdogan said Israeli air raids against Gaza could not be deemed self-defense, accusing Western countries of aiding what it called a “terrorist state” by condoning its violence in the Middle East.
 
“Sooner or later, Israel will answer for the innocent blood it has shed so far,” he said.
 
Erdogan said the United Nations “turned a blind eye” on Israeli attacks against Palestinians, accusing the international body of double standards against Muslims.
 
Iran echoed its voice with Erdogan on Tuesday stressing the importance to provide Palestinians with arms to defend themselves. 
 
“Neither Iran nor Hamas seek conflict or war, or aim to endanger the lives of innocent people,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in his weekly briefing.
 
The guilty party is “the criminal Zionist (Israeli) regime, which should be tried for war crimes,” he said.
 
He made the remarks in response to comments by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who accused Iran of encouraging the Palestinians to continue rocket attacks on Israel rather than negotiate a ceasefire.
 
“The unpleasant one is the Iranians. They are trying again to encourage the Hamas to continue the shooting, the bombing, they are trying to send them arms,” Peres said in an interview on CNN Monday.
 
“We are not going to make a war with Iran. But we are trying to prevent the shipping of long range missiles which Iran is sending to Hamas,” Peres said referring to Iranian-made Fajr 5 rockets used by Hamas militants to target Tel Aviv.
 
A top Iranian lawmaker, Aladin Borujerdi, had earlier denied Iran was sending missiles to Hamas.
 
Mehmanparast also denied any rift with Hamas, saying Iran has “always supported and will support the people of Palestine and Palestinian fighters, in particular Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.”
 
He said supporting the Palestinians was “one of the fundamental cornerstones shaping Iran’s foreign policy” since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
 
Iran in recent days has urged regional Muslim countries to send weapons to the Palestinians, with Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi encouraging them to close ranks and retaliate against Israel over the attacks on Gaza.
 
The Jewish state launched a major air offensive on Gaza on November 14 with a missile strike that killed the military commander of the Islamist movement Hamas which rules the territory. More than 110 Palestinians have been killed since, while three Israelis have died in rocket fire.

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