‘Deeply concerned’ world powers call for calm after Israel unrest

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 11 2021 04:02 AM

People are reflected in a puddle of water mixed with blood at the scene where Palestinians were killed amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in the northern Gaza Strip on May 10, 2021. Mohammed Salem, Reuters

Reactions poured in from around the world on Monday after violence sparked by days of unrest at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, with Israel launching air strikes on Gaza in response to rockets fired by the Islamist movement Hamas.

Here are reactions from around the world:

United States

US State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas as an "unacceptable escalation" and renewed calls for calm in Jerusalem.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the barrage of rocket attacks fired into Israel in recent hours," Price told reporters on Monday. 

"We also recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and to defend its people and its territory."

United Kingdom 

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the rocket attacks, saying "the ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza must stop".

"We need an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and an end to targeting of civilian populations," he tweeted.

Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to mobilize the world to stop Israeli "terror", in phone calls Monday to Palestinian leaders.

In the calls to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Erdogan denounced Israel's actions and extended support. 

The Turkish leader pledged to "do everything in his power to mobilize the world, starting with the Islamic world, to stop Israel's terror and occupation," his office said.

Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter to blame Israel for stealing "people's land & homes" and creating "an Apartheid regime". 

He also accused Israel of refusing to vaccinate citizens "under illegal occupation" and accused Israeli police of shooting "innocent worshippers" inside the Al-Aqsa mosque. 

On Saturday, a foreign ministry spokesman called on the United Nations to condemn the Israeli police action in the mosque compound, saying it amounted to a "war crime".

Egypt

Egypt's foreign ministry said in a statement it "firmly" condemned "the new incursion of Israeli forces into the al-Aqsa mosque".

Egypt's assistant minister of foreign affairs, Nazih Al-Najari met Monday with the Israeli ambassador in Cairo, Amira Oron, to say Egypt rejected and denounced Israel's action.

United Nations

The UN Security Council held an urgent meeting Monday over the violence, but issued no immediate statement. 

Negotiations were continuing among the 15 nations on the Security Council on a text that could be watered down from an initial draft proposed by Norway.

But diplomats said the United States believed public comments would be counterproductive.

Middle East Quartet 

The four members of the Middle East Quartet -- the US, Russia, the EU and the UN -- on Saturday expressed "deep concern" over the violence in Jerusalem.

European Union

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was "deeply concerned over the recent clashes".

It was "important that everything possible will be done to avoid fueling tensions", he added.

He described the evictions of Palestinians as a "matter of serious concern" and said "such actions are illegal under international humanitarian law".

He welcomed the decision to stop Jewish worshippers from accessing the esplanade as "a positive one that can calm the situation".

France 

Ahead of a planned march to commemorate Israel's capture of Jerusalem in 1967 -- later scrapped -- a French foreign ministry spokeswoman warned Monday of the risk of a "large-scale escalation".

"France calls on all concerned to show the greatest restraint and refrain from any provocation to allow a return to calm as swiftly as possible," the spokeswoman said.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to the violence, saying he was "following with particular concern the events that are happening in Jerusalem".

"I pray so that this might be a place of encounter and not violent clashes, a place of prayer and of peace," he said.

"Violence only generates violence. Let's stop these clashes."

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