A large escalation between Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip have been ongoing since November 11th. Overall reactions appear to be mixed, with the US expectedly standing completely behind Israel in its conflict with Hamas, while Egypt is attempting to broker a peace deal with the help of the UN and Qatar.
The US, as expected fully supports Israel and sees the Palestinians’ side as the aggressor and places the entire blame on Hamas and the other groups.
“Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war,” Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process said on Twitter. “These rocket & mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.” Hamas activities “continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas,” he further elaborated. “The world has grown tired of Hamas’ violence and the violence of other bad actors in Gaza. This violence prevents any real help for the people of Gaza.”
Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war. These rocket & mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) November 12, 2018
Hamas’ activities continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) November 12, 2018
The Times of Israel also cited an unnamed US State Department official who said “We condemn these attacks, and call for their immediate halt. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.”
Also, on November 12th, the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing Russia’s concern over the escalation in tensions in the Gaza Strip, urging both Palestinians and Israelis to show restraint and commit to a ceasefire.
“We call on the Palestinians and Israelis to return immediately to a stable ceasefire, to show restraint and to take measures to prevent the recurrence of confrontation with unpredictable consequences,” it said, adding that Egypt’s mediation efforts are positive. The statement further said that Russia continues to support the idea that the key issue for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict settlement is a reunification of the Palestinian people.
The Foreign Ministry also warned that the escalation over the last 24 hours could provoke the resumption of a large-scale military confrontation, and threatens new civilian casualties on both sides and the final collapse of the humanitarian situation there.
PressTV claimed that Russia, Jordan and an Egyptian delegation claimed that Israel is to blame for the escalation on November 12th.
The European Union condemned the escalations and the violence.
“The indiscriminate firing of rockets or other actions targeting civilians is unacceptable and must stop,” an EU spokesperson said in a statement. “The EU urges both parties to step back from the brink and avoid any further actions that would contribute to the escalation, put civilians’ lives at risk, and jeopardize recent efforts towards reducing tensions,” the statement continued. “All violent actions have to stop immediately.”
"The escalation of violence in and around Gaza during the last hours is very alarming.
The indiscriminate firing of rockets or other actions targeting civilians is unacceptable and must stop."https://t.co/WUvs4xAaqF
— EU in Israel (@EUinIsrael) November 12, 2018
France’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it condemned “in the strongest terms” the barrage rockets fired by Hamas at Israel, and the country’s ambassador to Israel, Helene Le Gal, tweeted her “solidarity” with Israeli residents under fire in the Gaza-border region. Thus, France also took Israel’s side.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that his country is “fully committed to Israel’s security.”
Rocket attacks against #Israel & its civilian population are certainly not the way to solve any of Gaza's problems & must stop immediately. It is of paramount importance that civilians are protected and violence is immediately stopped. AUT is fully committed to Israel's security.
— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) November 12, 2018
He said that rocket fire at Israel “are certainly not the way to solve any of Gaza’s problems” and said that it was “of paramount importance that civilians are protected and violence is immediately stopped.”
Germany’s Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer said that “violence and rockets against civilians [are] unacceptable” and expressed “solidarity with the victims of yesterday’s and today’s escalation. She also further stressed that any further escalations must be avoided.
Turkish State Anadolu Agency cited Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin who called on Israel to “immediately stop” strikes against the Gaza Strip, and urged the international community “which stays silent in the face of Israel’s attacks” to “take responsibility and take action.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the Israeli attacks, saying such crimes prove that “the Israeli regime is the embodiment of state terrorism in the Middle East.” Qassemi also called on international bodies to immediately intervene and stop “the Israeli regime’s war machine.”
Lebanon’s Hezbollah also condemned Israel’s attacks on Hamas figures as well as its continued acts of aggression against Gaza.
PressTV also cited Yemen’s Houthi also voiced their solidarity with the Palestinians. “We express our absolute belief in the inevitability of the victory of the oppressed and in the forefront of them the conscious and resisting Palestinian people,” the Houthi said in a statement.
Egypt is reportedly making an attempt to end the escalation together with the UN and ensure a long-term truce. Egypt has told both Israel and the Palestinians that they need to commit to de-escalation and has stepped up efforts to secure a ceasefire while also pressuring the international community to step up and intervene to “stop Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip.”
iNews24 cited unnamed high-level Egyptian diplomatic sources, Egypt told Israel that it needs to stop its “escalatory operations.”
The UN Special envoy for Middle East peace, Nikolay Mladenov said that the UN was working closely with Egypt to pressure Gaza to “step back from the brink.”
#UN is working closely with #Egypt and all concerned to ensure that #Gaza steps back from the brink. The escalation in the past 24hrs is EXTREMELY dangerous and reckless. Rockets must STOP, restraint must be shown by all! No effort must be spared to reverse the spiral of violence
— Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) November 12, 2018
On November 13th, The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) said it held Israel entirely responsible for what it described as the “dangerous escalation in the besieged Gaza Strip.”
The PLO’s Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy (DPDP) released a statement saying, “Israel bears full responsibility for the grave escalation it instigated in the Gaza Strip and the wanton destruction and terror it has caused.”
“Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilian structures, including residential buildings and a TV station, are war crimes, and Israel must face consequences for its actions,” the PLO also claimed.
As of midday November 13th, Israel’s security cabinet was still in a meeting to discuss the latest escalation, so no conclusive statement on the way forward has been given by the Israeli side.
The IDF has reinforced its Armored Corps and infantry to the Gaza Strip vicinity to strengthen troops and prevent possible infiltrations into Israel border communities.
“We are in the midst of a wide-scale process of accumulating more infantry, armored and other forces to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and we are mobilizing reserves for Iron Dome operations and the Home Front Command,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said.
It does appear that Israel does not have the support only of the US, but of most of the Western countries, which is not exactly surprising.