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Middle East

Israel's Gaza offensive aims to sabotage UN bid, Palestinians claim

media An Israeli shell hits Gaza City on Friday Reuters/Ahmed Zakot

Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour has accused Israel of timing the attack on Gaza in order to "torpedo" Palestine's UN bid and influence the upcoming Israeli election in January. Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil arrived in Gaza City on Friday after Israel agreed to a truce during his brief visit.

With less than two weeks to go until the UN votes on whether to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer, Mansour claimed that the attack was a provocation designed to distract the international community.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Israeli leaders are “dead afraid” of a successful bid, he argued.

Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor replied that the Palestinians are aiming for recognition of a state which includes Gaza and so Hamas, the Islamic party that controls the territory, is undermining the bid.

Israel used a hastily convened meeting of the UN Security Council to warn that a Palestinian bid for statehood could lead to more violence on the ground.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cut short a tour of Europe and will convene an urgent meeting of the Arab League on Saturday to discuss the crisis.

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