From calls for “moderation” to concerns about possible war crimes, political leaders and international tribunals in Europe weigh on the latest escalation.
Tensions in the Middle East have sounded alarms in Europe, with leaders weighing on the deadly Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli army has launched hundreds of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip since Monday, while Palestinians have launched more than 1,000 rockets.
The escalation has seen at least 53 Palestinians, including 14 children, and six Israelis killed in a matter of days, and hundreds injured, in the most intense crisis since the 2014 seven-week Israeli war in Gaza.
Here are some reactions:
Russia: Putin urges escalation, minister calls on Israel to stop settlement activities
“Serious concern was expressed about the continuing clashes and the growing number of people killed and injured,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Wednesday, following a call with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. world needs to give Israel a “strong” ”Deterrent Lesson.
He added that Putin had “called on the parties to reduce tensions and resolve emerging issues peacefully.”
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin called on Israel to “immediately” cease all settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, the RIA news agency reported.
Vershinin also said Moscow had called for the “status quo of Jerusalem’s sacred sites” to be respected, RIA reported.
UK: Johnson urges sides to ‘show restraint’
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday urged Israel and the Palestinians to “take a step back”, calling on both sides to “show restraint”.
“The UK is deeply concerned about the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent escalation of tensions,” he said on Twitter.
EU: “Very concerned”
European Council President Charles Michel called on Israelis and Palestinians to stop fighting and avoid civilian casualties, after speaking with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
“Very concerned about the recent increase in violence and indiscriminate targeting. The priority should be scaling up and preventing the loss of innocent civilian lives on both sides, “Michel said on Twitter on Wednesday.
CPI: “crimes” may have been committed
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court based in The Hague expressed concern about the escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians and said “crimes” could have been committed.
“I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute. [which founded the ICC]Fatou Bensouda said on Twitter on Wednesday.
– International Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) May 12, 2021
Israeli planes have severely damaged buildings in Gaza City during the conflict. Israel said a nine-story building run on Wednesday housed Hamas intelligence offices and the command of the group responsible for planning attacks in the occupied West Bank; it also had residential apartments, medical companies and a dental clinic.
Israel faced strong criticism for bombing residential buildings in Gaza during the 2014 war, one of several tactics that are now the subject of an ICC investigation into possible war crimes. Israel is not a member of the tribunal and has rejected the investigation.
Germany: Merkel says Israel has “right to self-defense”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday that her government “condemns these incessant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli cities in the strongest terms,” saying “they could not be justified.” .
“Israel has the right to self-defense against these attacks,” he added.
Seibert noted that both Arab and Jewish Israeli citizens had been killed in recent days by rockets taken by Hamas and “allied extremist groups.”
“Its goal is to kill people arbitrarily and indiscriminately,” he said.
Italy: FM urges “greater moderation”
The Italian foreign minister said he and his German counterpart want to immediately end the violence between Israel and the Palestinians, after holding talks on Wednesday.
“We strongly urge all parties to take immediate steps to de-escalate and exercise the utmost restraint,” said Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.