Greens call on Muscat to take a stand on Palestine

Greens call on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to take a stand against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine

Alternattiva Demokratika called on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who the Greens said “seems to be totally ignoring Malta's long-held position of defending the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people,” to urgently raise the issue of the situation in Palestine with his EU counterparts.

AD Chairperson Arnold Cassola said "as for the reported support of Muscat's Government for an Israeli seat on the UN Security Council, we wonder what Muscat is selling his principles for this time round. A state which is in breach of UN resolutions and has been occupying another nation for decades is not fit to sit on the UN Security Council."

In June, MaltaToday revealed that Muscat’s government would support Israel’s bid to win a seat for the first time ever on the United Nations Security Council. Despite creating tensions between diverging camps within the government, Muscat has not denied that he would back Israel’s controversial bid.

Cassola said “the hardships suffered, the land grabbing, the ill-treatment of Palestinians because of the illegal and immoral occupation by the Israeli state just leads to cycles of violence. The indiscriminate bombardment and shelling by Israel of the Occupied Territories is immoral and outrageous and must stop immediately."

He added that promises of an independent and free Palestinian state must become a reality if the violence is to stop.  

“The firing of rockets into Israel is not helping the situation but the savage and barbaric bombardment and shelling of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli occupying forces is scandalous."

Over 500 dead in Gaza

Israel has denied that one of its soldiers had been captured by Hamas in overnight fighting, as the death toll in the Gaza Strip passed 500, the Gaza health ministry said. 

Al-Qassam brigades, Hamas' armed wing, said Israeli soldier Shaul Aron was captured late on Sunday, but Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UN dismissed the claim, saying that "those rumours were untrue".

The Qassam brigades did not say whether the captured soldier was dead or alive.

Aron would be the first Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza since 2011, when Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to free Gilad Shalit, a soldier who was held for more than five years after his 2006 capture in a cross-border raid.

Aron was allegedly captured amid overnight fighting in the eastern part of the Palestinian enclave, where heavy shelling continued into Monday morning.

At least 75 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed overnight in Gaza's Shujayea neighbourhood. The US state department confirmed that two of the Israeli soldiers were US citizens.

It remains unclear whether they held Israeli citizenship as well.

Israel maintains that its offensive is targeting Hamas fighters in Gaza and a network of underground tunnels which they say are used to attack their troops and civilians.

On Monday, the Israeli army said that "two terrorist squads infiltrated Israel through a tunnel from north Gaza" and that it "killed 10 terrorists".