Palestinian Authority (PA) chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, a close confidante of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, made an outlandish claim on Monday while defending Abbas's UN address last Friday that accused Israel of a "war of genocide."
Erekat told Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio) that "96% of those killed in the (Gaza) Strip were citizens, and tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. I know Israelis protest against the use of the term 'genocide,' but that's the reality on the ground."
The unfounded claim comes despite expert analysis that of the 2,140 Gaza residents killed in the counter-terror operation, there was roughly a 1:1 death toll of combatants to civilians, an almost unprecedented achievement in urban warfare. The UN, like the world media, has been largely unconcerned about accuracy in the Gaza death toll, relying on highly questionable Hamas figures.
Ironically, Erekat's claim comes after Abbas claimed earlier in the month that "861 Martyrs fell from Fatah" in the operation, claiming that his faction lost 17 times more members than Hamas. And despite the claim of "civilians," Fatah's "military wing," the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, released a video bragging of the deaths of their terrorists as they fought Israel in the war.
Speaking Monday, Erekat added "this situation will not continue. The international community will exert pressure on them (Israel)."
Abbas has threatened Israel with a "political war" if his demand that the UN set a timeline for Israel to withdraw from the 1949 Armistice lines is not met.
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) also spoke to Galei Tzahal on Monday, saying "the Palestinians are a stubborn opponent that chose the path of incitement and lies against Israel."
"The right and the left need to unite against this de-legitimization trip," said Erdan. "Abbas is setting impossible conditions that were never set in the past. From Erekat's words it's clear they aren't ready for any concession."