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MANILA, Philippines – Various governments around the world condemned the surprise attack of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on Israel on Saturday, October 7.
In a video statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas. “I have ordered an extensive mobilization of reserves and that we return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price…. We are at war and we will win it,” he said.
The surprise morning assault combined gunmen crossing into several Israeli towns with a heavy barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Here are some reactions from around the world following the incident:
The United States condemns attacks by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel, and supports Israel’s right to defend itself, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday.
“There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel, and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Blinken said in a statement released by the State Department.
“We will remain in close contact with our Israeli partners. The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself,” Blinken said.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that the United States would work to ensure that Israel “has what it needs to defend itself.”
“Over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism,” Austin said in a statement.
French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that he strongly condemned the terrorist attacks against Israel.
“I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks which are currently hitting Israel. I express my full solidarity with the victims, and their families and those close to them,” Macron wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly
Britain “unequivocally condemns” a surprise attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel on Saturday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
“The UK unequivocally condemns the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians. The UK will always support Israel’s right to defend itself,” Cleverly said in a post on social media.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was shocked by the attacks.
“We’re in contact with Israeli authorities, and British nationals in Israel should follow travel advice,” Sunak added.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk
“I call for an immediate stop to the violence, and appeal to all sides and key countries in the region to de-escalate to avoid further bloodshed,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk.
“This attack is having a horrific impact on Israeli civilians,” Tuerk said in a statement. “Civilians must never be the target of attack.”
He called on Israel to take precautions to avoid civilian casualties as it responded to the attacks with air strikes into Gaza.
Egypt warned of “grave consequences” from an escalation in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in a statement from the foreign ministry carried by the state news agency on Saturday.
It called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger.”
Oman on Saturday called on Israel and the Palestinians to exercise maximum self-restraint, the state news agency reported quoting an official statement.
The statement called asked the international community and international parties to “intervene immediately to stop the ongoing escalation and resort to the rules of international law.”
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry on Saturday called for an “immediate cessation of violence between Israeli and the Palestinians,” the state news agency reported.
It quoted a ministry statement which read: “We are following the unprecedented developments between a number of Palestinian factions and Israel occupation forces which has led to a high level of violence on a number of fronts.”
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to prevent further violence and preserve the safety of civilians, the official news agency reported, citing the UAE foreign ministry.
“The UAE calls for the exercise of maximum restraint and an immediate ceasefire to avoid serious repercussions,” the ministry said in a statement, according to the report.
Kuwait expressed its “grave concern” over developments between Israel and the Palestinians, blaming Israel for what it called its “blatant attacks.”
The foreign ministry in a statement called on the international community to “stop the provocative practices by the occupation” and the “policy of expanding settlements.”
Military operations undertaken by the Palestinian people on Saturday are a natural result of decades of “systemic oppression” by the “Zionist Occupation authority”, a statement by the Iraqi government’s official spokesperson said.
The statement also warned of a continued escalation in the Palestinian territories, which it said could affect the stability of the region.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she strongly condemned a surprise attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel on Saturday, saying violence against innocent people must stop straight away.
“I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Israel from Gaza. Violence and rockets against innocent civilians must stop now. We stand in full solidarity with Israel and its right under international law to defend itself against terror,” Baerbock said on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter.
Russian Foreign Ministry
Russia expresses its most serious concern at the sharp aggravation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Saturday.
“We call on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to implement an immediate ceasefire, renounce violence, exercise the necessary restraint and establish, with the assistance of the international community, a negotiation process aimed at establishing a comprehensive, lasting and long-awaited peace in the Middle East,” she said in a statement.
Russia is in contact with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries over the flare-up, the Interfax news agency reported earlier, citing Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
Japan strongly condemns rocket launches and cross-border attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups into Israeli territory, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Japan urges all parties to exercise utmost restraint to prevent further harm, the ministry said in a statement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday condemned what he called a “terrorist attack” on Israel after a surprise assault by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and backed the country’s right to self-defense.
“Anyone who resorts to terror commits a crime against the world. Whoever finances terror is committing a crime against the world,” he wrote on the social media platform X.
“The world must stand united and in solidarity so that terror does not attempt to break or subjugate life anywhere and at any moment.”
Ukraine Foreign Ministry
Ukraine’s foreign ministry condemned what it described as “ongoing terrorist attacks” on Israel after the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Saturday launched the biggest assault on the country in years.
“Ukraine strongly condemns the ongoing terrorist attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks against the civilian population in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,” the ministry said on the social media platform X.
“We express our support for Israel in its right to defend itself and its people.”
Spanish acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares
Spain’s acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares on social media platform X on Saturday condemned attacks from Gaza against Israel.
“We strongly condemn the very serious terrorist attacks from Gaza against Israel.
“Overwhelmed by this indiscriminate violence. All our solidarity [is] with the victims.”
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
“I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel. It is terrorism in its most despicable form. Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks,” she posted on X.
European Union Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell
“We follow with anguish the news coming from #Israel. We unequivocally condemn the attacks by Hamas. This horrific violence must stop immediately. Terrorism and violence solve nothing,” Borrell posted on X.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves against the “terror of settlers and occupation troops,” the official news agency WAFA quoted him as saying.
He spoke at an emergency meeting held in Ramallah with a number of top officials from the Palestinian Authority.
Iran Foreign Ministry
Iran’s foreign ministry said Hamas attacks on Saturday were proof of the Palestinians’ increased confidence in the face of Israel, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
“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,” ISNA quoted ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani as telling the agency in an interview.
Hezbollah issued a statement on Saturday saying they were closely following the situation in Gaza and are in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance.”
Following events involving Gaza militants who fired a barrage of rockets into Israel, the statement added that it was a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalization with Israel.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called on Israelis and Palestinians to act with restraint and refrain from hostile acts that could exacerbate the situation.
“We call for restraint from all parties,” Erdogan said at a congress for his ruling AK Party in Ankara. “They must refrain from aggressive acts,” he said.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
“Just spoke with Prime Minister @netanyahu about the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel. I told him that the Netherlands unequivocally condemns this terrorist violence and fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself,” Rutte said on social media.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau
“I strongly condemn Hamas’ ongoing attacks on Israel. This baseless aggression and acts of violence, especially against civilians, are unacceptable. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these terrible events,” Rau wrote on X.
Czech President Petr Pavel
“The attack conducted from the Gaza Strip is a deplorable act of terrorism against the State of Israel and the civilian population,” 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.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed a trip to the Czech Republic, a long-time Israel ally, following the hostilities, a statement from the Czech presidential office said.
Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Hajda Lahbib
“Belgium strongly condemns the massive rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. Violence and terror only perpetuates suffering and hinders the path to dialogue. Our thoughts are with all those affected. We are monitoring the situation closely,” she said on X.
Greek Foreign Ministry
“Greece strongly condemns today’s launch of heavy rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel. Greece stands with Israel and is deeply concerned by this unacceptable escalation of violence,” the ministry posted on X.
Rahim Safavi, adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
An adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday congratulated Palestinian fighters for launching the biggest attack on Israel in years, the semi-official ISNA news site reported.
“We congratulate the Palestinian fighters,” it quoted Rahim Safavi as saying. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International
Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said in a thread on X that Amnesty International “is deeply alarmed by the mounting civilian death tolls in Gaza, Israel and the occupied West Bank and urgently calls on all parties to the conflict to abide by international law and make every effort to avoid further civilian bloodshed.”
Callamard added, “Under international humanitarian law all sides in a conflict have a clear obligation to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the hostilities. Deliberately targeting civilians, carrying out disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks which kill/injure civilians are war crimes. Israel has a horrific track record of committing war crimes with impunity in previous wars on Gaza. Palestinian armed groups from Gaza must refrain from targeting civilians & using indiscriminate weapons as they have done and most intensively now, acts amounting to war crimes.”
“The root causes of these repeated cycles of violence must be addressed as a matter of urgency. This requires upholding international law and ending Israel’s 16-year-long illegal blockade on Gaza, and all other aspects of Israel’s system of apartheid imposed on all Palestinians,” Callamard said, ending by saying that the Israeli government “must refrain from inciting violence and tensions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, especially around religious sites,” and asks the international community to “urgently intervene to protect civilians and prevent further suffering.”
“The Philippines conveys its deepest sympathies and condolences to those who have lost family members and loved ones in recent attacks. The Philippines condemns the attacks, especially against civilian populations, ” Malacañang said on Sunday, October 8.
– With reports from Reuters/Rappler.com