Saudis condemn Israel for ‘continuous genocidal massacres’

The kingdom turned up the diplomatic heat after dozens Gazans accidentally died in a fire sparked after an IDF missile strike on Hamas terrorists.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Saudi Arabia turned up the diplomatic heat on Israel Monday in possibly its strongest denunciation to date of the Jewish state’s conduct of its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“Saudi Arabia condemns and denounces in the strongest terms the continuous genocidal massacres committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people without deterrence by continuing to target the tents of defenseless Palestinian refugees in Rafah,” its Foreign Ministry stated.

Riyadh also accused the IDF of “continuous blatant violations of all international and humanitarian resolutions, laws, and norms” and “exacerbate[ing] the magnitude of the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe experienced by the Palestinian people.”

Blaming only Israel for the conflict, it demanded that the international community step in “to stop the massacres” and “hold those responsible accountable.”

The harsh statement followed a Sunday night airstrike that assassinated two top Hamas commanders near the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Hamas’ last stronghold in the Strip.

A fire was set off, killing some 45 Gazan civilians according to Hamas officials, and countries around the world leapt to condemn Israel for the tragedy.

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Even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for their accidental deaths, the IDF began examining the incident in depth.

Chief spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari then told reporters Tuesday that the air force had used two precision munitions containing only 17 kilograms of explosive material each. These small missiles were not capable of causing the deadly conflagration, he said.

It was more likely that “weapons stored in a compound” next to the target ignited as a result of the airstrike, he continued.

Hagari provided evidence for this contention, an intercepted phone recording in which two Gazans are talking about “an ammunition warehouse” exploding.

“The Jewish bombing wasn’t strong, it was a small missile, because it didn’t create a large hole. And afterward a lot of secondary explosions,” one man said to the other.

Saudi Arabia had reportedly been on its way to normalizing relations with Israel in the summertime in a deal being crafted by the Biden administration that would have included closer defense ties with the U.S. but no pressure for establishing a Palestinian state.

Many Middle East experts believe that this initiative was the major impetus for Hamas’ invasion of Israel on October 7, 2023, in which its terrorists massacred 1,200 people and abducted 253 Israelis and foreign nationals, setting off the war.

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Although the kingdom kept quiet as the war began, Riyadh has been steadily increasing its harsh rhetoric against Israel.

It has also made definitive movement towards a Palestinian state a condition for agreeing to engage in a formal diplomatic relationship with Israel.

Netanyahu’s firm rejection of such a “terror state,” as he has put it, which is backed by a solid majority of 64% of Israelis, was “a matter of extreme concern,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told reporters in Belgium Sunday night.