The escalating fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups, led by the terror group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip has sparked concern — and condemnation — from world leaders.
The renewed conflict that has seen a barrage of Hamas rockets fired into Israel and Israeli counter airstrikes into Gaza are “totally unacceptable,” the European Union said in a statement.
“The significant upsurge in violence in the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem as well as in and around Gaza needs to stop immediately,” the EU said.
The fighting has so far killed 53 Palestinians — including 14 children — and six Israelis, including a member of the military.
Both Hamas leaders and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have said they will escalate the exchange of firepower if needed.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged both sides to “show restraint,” the BBC reported.
“I think we all want to see urgent de-escalation by both sides,” Johnson said. “The position of this government is firmly behind this in that we believe that a two-state solution is the best way forward.”
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also called for a halt to hostilities.
“The rocket attack on Israel is absolutely unacceptable and must end immediately,” Maas said. “Israel has in this situation the right to self-defense. This escalation of violence can neither be tolerated nor accepted.”
The White House’s position has been that the contested territories need to be “a place of co-existence,” but has expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself, despite President Biden remaining largely silent on the recent escalation.
Biden administration spokeswoman Jen Psaki said this week that the president is committed to “Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people,” saying that position “is fundamental and will never waiver.”
However, Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement that “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 renewed fighting in Gaza marks the largest outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants since the 50-day war in 2014.
With Post Wires