Here’s where the world stands on Israel’s violence against Palestinians

Published May 12, 2021
Protesters demanding an end to Israeli aggression against Palestine rally in Midtown Manhattan on May 11, 2021 in New York City. — AFP
Protesters demanding an end to Israeli aggression against Palestine rally in Midtown Manhattan on May 11, 2021 in New York City. — AFP

Calls grew on Wednesday for a de-escalation of violence after intense hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians that have left at least 48 dead in Gaza and hundreds injured.

The Israeli army has launched hundreds of air strikes on the Gaza Strip since Monday, while Palestinian militants have launched more than 1,000 rockets in some of the worst violence in seven years.

Here is a roundup of global reactions:

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Guterres' spokesman said the secretary-general was saddened by “the increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli air strikes in Gaza and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza.”

“Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force. The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centres is unacceptable,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The United States

The White House said Israel had a legitimate right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks but said Jerusalem “must be a place of co-existence”. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden's support for “Israel's security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waver”.

European Union

The European Union said Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel were “totally unacceptable” and called on all sides to aim for a de-escalation and to prevent more civilian casualties.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also condemned evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, calling them illegal and saying they only served to fuel tensions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

“The rocket attack on Israel is absolutely unacceptable and must end immediately. Israel has in this situation the right to self-defence. This escalation of violence can be neither tolerated nor accepted.”

Arab League

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the Israeli air strikes were “indiscriminate and irresponsible”. He said Israel was responsible for a “dangerous escalation” in Jerusalem and called on the international community to act immediately to stop the violence.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

“Zionists understand nothing but the language of force, so the Palestinians must increase their power and resistance to force the criminals to surrender and stop their brutal acts,” Khamenei said.

Turkey

“The Israeli government must finally understand that it will not be able to suppress the Palestinian people's legitimate rights and demands by using indiscriminate and disproportionate power,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

The OIC “praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people stationed in the occupied city of Jerusalem and their response to the Israeli attacks on the holy sites.”

International Committee of the Red Cross

Middle East director Fabrizio Carboni said international humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate attacks against civilians; any attack must be proportionate, and all necessary precautions must be taken to avoid civilian casualties.

He called for “rapid, safe and unimpeded movement for ambulances” and for staff and volunteers of both the Palestinian and Israeli medical services.

International Criminal Court

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the court was concerned about the possibility that war crimes were being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in and around Gaza, and was monitoring developments.

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