Palestinian Foreign Minister on Sunday accused Israel of committing war crimes in its nearly weeklong offensive on Gaza, urging international pressure at a United Nations Security Council session.

Iran PressMiddle East: “Some may not want to use these words – war crimes and crimes against humanity – but they know they are true,” Riyad al-Maliki told the UNSC virtual session on the crisis on Sunday. 

He also said that Tel Aviv is pursuing a policy of “apartheid” against the Palestinians.

“Act now to end the aggression. Act now so freedom can prevail – not apartheid,” he told the Security Council.

Since violence flared on Monday, at least 195 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 58 children. More than 1,200 others have been wounded. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 13 Palestinians.

Al-Maliki voiced regret over Israeli deaths but urged the Security Council to examine the power balance.

Israel “is an occupying colonial power. Any assessment of the situation that fails to take into account this fundamental fact is biased”, al-Maliki said.

“Israel always says, put yourselves in our shoes. But Israel is not wearing shoes. It is wearing military boots,” a top Palestinian Authority diplomat stated.

Al-Maliki has also criticized countries that moved to normalize relations with the Israeli regime last year, as violence escalates between the Palestinians and Israeli forces.

“Normalization and running towards this colonial Israeli system without achieving peace and ending the Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands represent support for the apartheid regime and participation in its crimes,” Maliki told an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Sunday.

“This colonial occupation must be confronted, dismantled, ended, and banned. The recently accelerated normalization will not have an impact on the sentiments of the Arab world or change their assessment.”