Israel has violated human rights of Palestinians and used internationally banned weapons against civilians in Gaza, Turkey’s head of religious affairs said Sunday.
Mehmet Gormez, president of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs, made the remarks during his first trip to the Gaza Strip Sunday. Gormez is in the coastal enclave on the invitation of Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Yusuf Ismail al-Sheikh.
Referring to Israeli government’s eight-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, Gormez said that the people of Gaza had free minds and free hearts despite the daily horrors they faced.
He said that the Israeli army had used internationally banned weapons in its anti-Palestinian deadly operations in the Gaza Strip. “Israel used internationally banned weapons and violated religious and human rights [of Palestinians]. Israel must be prosecuted,” he added.
During his visit, Gormez vowed to support the rebuilding of all the mosques destroyed during Operation ‘Protective Edge’.
Gormez also met with Ismail Haniyeh, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, in Gaza. Haniyeh praised Turkey’s assistance to Palestinians, which he said was an indication of the “reliable and sacred” bond between the two sides.
“Gaza in particular and Palestine in general praises Turkey’s support in all domains…We will never forget the Turkish That blood was spilled on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in a bid to break the siege on the Gaza Strip” the senior Hamas leader said.
On July 8, 2014, Israel launched its “Operation Protective Edge” offensive in the Gaza Strip that left more than 2,000 people, most of them civilians, dead. The Israeli bombardment had also left around 11,855 housing units destroyed or severely damaged, and at least 425,000 people were displaced, according to an August 2014 UN report.
Images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.