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Erekat warns Israel against 'irresponsible' actions

Aug. 18, 2011 9:51 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2011 5:00 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- PLO official Saeb Erekat on Thursday warned Israel against taking any "irresponsible" action in Gaza following a series of attacks along the Israel-Egypt border.

"Israel is the occupying power. Under international humanitarian law, it is responsible for the welfare and safety of the Palestinian population living under its occupation," Erekat said.

"This includes the almost two million Palestinians in Gaza. Israel stands warned of any possible aggressive action or collective punishment measures against the Palestinian population in Gaza," he said.

Erekat's remarks came as an Israeli airstrike killed six Palestinians Thursday evening in southern Gaza, hours after a series of attacks left seven Israelis dead near Eilat.

Erekat said that while the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah opposed violence "in all its forms," threats by Israel's defense minister and others to exact a devastating blow in Gaza were irresponsible.

"Our position is clear. We are against violence in all its forms. Such violence does not advance the Palestinian cause for freedom and independence," Erekat said in a statement.

"However, we will not accept for such attacks to be used a pretext for aggression."

He added that "The international community also has a responsibility towards the Palestinian people and ensuring calm; we call on them to uphold this responsibility."
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