There was mixed reaction to Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza Strip and Palestinian rocket fire in response, with Israel and its allies defending the air raids and those supporting the besieged territory denouncing the violence.
Below is global reaction to Friday’s deadly air raids on Gaza:
The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, warned the “dangerous” escalation risked creating the need for more aid at a time when world resources were stretched by other conflicts.
“In the past few hours, at least 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli air strikes. I am deeply saddened by reports that ain these strikes. There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians,” said Wennesland.
“The launching of rockets must cease immediately, and I call on all sides to avoid further escalation.”
John Kirby, US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, defended Israel’s attack on Gaza and urged both sides to de-escalate the situation.
“We’re actively engaged with the Israeli-Palestinian regional partners to work towards achieving more calm in the wake of these strikes. And we certainly urge all sides to avoid further escalation. We remain unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security, and we will continue to work to strengthen all aspects of the US-Israeli partnership.”
“We absolutely fully support Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist groups that are taking the lives of innocent civilians in Israel. As for the two-state solution, we remain committed to a two-state solution. That was one of the president’s key messages on this trip, both to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. We still want to see that be the outcome, but both sides have to want it too.”
Ankara “strongly” condemned the Israeli air raids on Gaza and said it is “unacceptable that civilians, including children, lose their lives in attacks”.
The foreign ministry in a statement urged “restraint and common sense” following the deadly attacks on the blockaded enclave.
“We are deeply concerned about the rising tension in the region after the attacks. We emphasize the need to end these events before they turn into a new spiral of conflict,” it said.
Cairo is working to calm the latest escalation in Gaza. “We hope to reach a consensus to return to calm as soon as possible,” an unnamed security source told AFP news agency. Separately, another source said a delegation from Islamic Jihad may head to Cairo later Saturday.
Hamas’ Doha-based leader Ismail Haniyeh has held talks with “Egyptian intelligence” over the violence, a statement from the group said. Egypt, a historic broker between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, negotiated the ceasefire that ended the conflict in May of last year.
Qatar – a major financial backer that has spent billions of dollars rebuilding Gaza and supporting its people after Israeli attacks – expressed its “strong condemnation and denunciation” of Friday’s attacks. It stressed “the need for the international community to move urgently to stop the [Israeli] occupation’s repeated attacks against civilians, especially women and children”.
In a statement Friday, the foreign affairs ministry reiterated, “The State of Qatar’s firm position on the justice of the Palestinian cause, the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people, and the establishment of their independent state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Amman demanded that Israel “immediately stop its aggression” on the Gaza Strip. Spokesman Haitham Abu al-Ful warned of “dangerous” consequences that “will only increase tension and violence and deepen the environment of despair”.
“The solution to the problem of the Gaza Strip and preventing the escalation of violence lies in finding a real political horizon by returning to the negotiating table to achieve a just peace on the basis of the two-state solution,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in a televised statement pledged to do “whatever it takes to defend our people”.
“Israel carried out a precise counter-terror operation against an immediate threat. Our fight is not with the people of Gaza.
“Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy, that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad, is in Tehran as we speak. We will do whatever it takes to defend our people. Israel isn’t interested in a broader conflict in Gaza, but will not shy away from one either.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this evening:
“Israel carried out a precise counter-terror operation against an immediate threat.
Our fight is not with the people of Gaza.
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM)
In a statement, the Islamic Jihad said, “The enemy has begun a war targeting our people, and we all have the duty to defend ourselves and our people, and not allow the enemy to get away with its actions, which are aimed at undermining the resistance and national steadfastness.”
Ghazi Hamad, a senior official for Hamas – the group that governs the Strip – said the latest attack is “a brutal crime, a massacre done by the Israeli occupation against our people”.
Palestinian factions are exploring the “best option for the Palestinian people”.
The Palestinian Authority, which governs the occupied West Bank, condemned “the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and demanded its immediate cessation”.
“The presidency called on the international community to compel Israel to stop this aggression against our people everywhere, particularly in Gaza, and to provide them with international protection,” it said in a statement.
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