World leaders have urged restraint after Saturday’s deadly Hamas attack targeting Israel and the retaliation that followed.
The early morning Hamas offensive by air, land and sea was met by Israeli air strikes on the blockaded coastal enclave, in the bloodiest escalation since May 2021.
Here is a snapshot of global reactions.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has expressed his profound concern over the escalating violence in the Middle East, emphasising the pressing need to address the “Palestine Question”.
“We urge restraint and protection of civilians. Enduring peace in the Middle East lies in a two state solution with a viable, contiguous, sovereign State of Palestine, founded on pre-1967 borders, with Al Quds Al-Sharif at its heart,” he said in a post on X.
President Arif Alvi said that “progress towards peace cannot materialise without condemnation of usurpation and brutalisation of Palestinian rights and people by Israel”.
“Continuous annexation of land, illegal settlements, disproportionate reactions and killings. The result is no hope and no progress towards peace. Time has come to move forward in line with UN resolutions. International community can play a big role today towards world peace,” he said.
Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani said that Pakistan was “deeply concerned by the escalating hostility in the Middle East and the loss of innocent lives”.
“We stand in solidarity with Palestinians and call for an immediate end to the violence and oppression by Israeli occupation forces. A viable and sovereign state of Palestine must be established on the basis of pre-1967 borders and UN resolutions,” he said.
Jilani said the international community needed to intervene to “bring an end to the conflict, protect civilians, and work towards a lasting peace in the Middle East”.
Indonesia, a long-time supporter of the Palestinian cause, said it was deeply concerned about the escalation of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and called for the violence to end.
“Indonesia is deeply concerned with the escalation of conflict between Palestine and Israel. Indonesia urges the immediate end of violence to avoid further human casualties,” the Indonesian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Indonesia has consistently voiced support for the Palestinian struggle to gain independence.
“The root of the conflict, namely the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel, must be resolved, in accordance with the parameters agreed upon by the UN,” the statement said.
The world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation has also said it had no interest in opening diplomatic ties with Israel.
“China is deeply concerned about the current escalation of tension and violence between Palestine and Israel,” Beijing’s foreign ministry said.
Beijing “calls on all parties concerned to remain calm and exercise restraint, cease fire immediately, protect civilians and prevent further deterioration of the situation”, it said.
Beijing said that “the repeated clashes between Palestine and Israel fully demonstrate that the long-term stagnation of the peace process is unsustainable”.
“The fundamental way out of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in the implementation of the ‘two-state solution’ and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” it added.
China called on the international community to “enhance its sense of urgency, increase its participation on the (resolution of the) Palestinian issue, promote the early resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel and seek a way for lasting peace”.
“China will continue to make unremitting efforts with the international community to this end,” it said.
US President Joe Biden said US support for Israel was “rock solid and unwavering”.
“The United States stands with Israel,” Biden said in a televised statement at the White House, flanked by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We will not ever fail to have their back.”
A White House official said talks with Israel on military aid were “very much underway”.
Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called for “an immediate halt to military operations in Gaza” and “the cycle of armed confrontation between the two sides”.
He said: “Israel’s continued implementation of violent and extremist policies is a time bomb depriving the region of any serious opportunity for stability in the foreseeable future.”
The Saudi foreign ministry called for an “immediate cessation of violence”.
“The UAE calls for the exercise of maximum restraint and an immediate ceasefire to avoid serious repercussions,” the official news agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying.
Kuwait expressed its “grave concern” over developments between Israel and the Palestinians, blaming Israel for what it called its “blatant attacks”.
An adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday congratulated Palestinian fighters, the semi-official ISNA news site reported. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem,” it quoted Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying.
Iran’s state television showed parliament members rising from their seats to chant “Death to Israel”.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani spokesperson was quoted by ISNA as saying: “In this operation, the element of surprise and other combined methods were used, which show the Palestinian people’s confidence in the face of the occupiers.”
Huthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa said they supported “the heroic jihadist operation”.
In a statement published on the website of SABA news agency, the group said the attack “revealed the weakness, fragility and impotence” of Israel. It called the operation “a battle of dignity, pride, and defence”.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry Egypt warned of “grave consequences” and called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger”.
“We call for restraint from all parties,” Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan said.
Qatar foreign ministry said Israel alone was responsible for the ongoing escalation of violence with the Palestinian people, and called for both sides to show restraint.
“The Kingdom of Morocco expresses its deep concern at the deterioration of the situation and the outbreak of military action in the Gaza Strip, and condemns attacks against civilians wherever they may be,” a foreign ministry statement said.
Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said: “This is a dangerous precipice, and I appeal to all to pull back from the brink.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk said: “This attack is having a horrific impact on Israeli civilians … Civilians must never be the target of attack.”
“Terrifying news reaches us today from #Israel. We are deeply shocked by the rocket fire from Gaza and the escalating violence. Germany condemns these attacks by Hamas and stands by Israel,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on social media.
French President Emmanuel Macron strongly condemned the attacks.
“I express my full solidarity with the victims, and their families and those close to them,” he said.
“Canada strongly condemns the current terrorist attacks against Israel. These acts of violence are completely unacceptable. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this. Civilian life must be protected,” Canadian Prime Minister Justic Trudeau said on X.
“The UK unequivocally condemns the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians. The UK will always support Israels right to defend itself,” British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said: “I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel. It is terrorism in its most despicable form.”
Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “We unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hamas. This horrific violence must stop immediately. Terrorism and violence solve nothing.”
Russia is in contact with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries in connection with the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, urging restraint.
Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned what he called a “terror attack” on Israel and said Israel’s right to defend itself “cannot be doubted”.
The Lebanese group Hezbollah, an arch foe of Israel, said it was in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance” and described events as a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalisation with Israel”.
“I’m shocked by today’s brutal attacks on Israel by Hamas. Rockets attacks and detention of civilians as hostages arouse our deepest opposition. Poland strongly condemns all acts of violence,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said.
“The attack conducted from the Gaza Strip is a deplorable act of terrorism against the State of Israel and the civilian population,” Czech Republic President Petr Pavel said in a statement.
“The rocket attacks and the infiltration of Hamas commandos into Israel will block any efforts for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for a long time.”
“A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was held today on the dramatic situation unfolding in Israel, which has been the target of a military and terrorist attack,” a statement from the Italian prime minister’s office said.
“The government is following the evolution of the situation with concern … Particular attention is being paid to the security of the Jewish community in the country.”
Japan strongly condemns rocket launches and cross-border attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian groups into Israeli territory, the foreign ministry said.
“We repudiate the planners, funders and implementers of this heinous attack. While Israel has a right to retaliate, a peaceful path to resolving this unfortunate development is urged,” Korir Sing’oei, principal secretary at Kenya’s foreign ministry, said on X.
Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Sunday there was a need to intensify diplomatic efforts to prevent escalating Israel-Palestinian violence with “dangerous repercussions” for the region’s security.
In comments made on state media, Abdullah said contacts with regional and international parties were underway to discuss “urgent international action to avoid an escalation and prevent the region from the consequences of a new round of violence.”
Header image: Palestinians search through the rubble of a house destroyed in Israeli strikes in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, October 8. — Reuters