Israel-Gaza: How the world reacted to the onslaught

Palestinian children injured in Israeli air strikes receive treatment at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 6 August 2022 (AFP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  August 6, 2022

Israel’s allies have stayed silent about the killings of civilians or supported its right to ‘defend itself,’ while others spoke out against the ‘aggression’.

Israel’s attack on Gaza, now on its second day, has triggered mixed international reactions from the international community.

The Israeli army announced operation “Breaking Dawn” on Friday, killing one Palestinian member of the Islamic Jihad armed faction, along with 11 other Palestinians, including a five-year-old girl.

The latest round of violence comes just 15 months after Israel’s May 2021 assault on Gaza, which killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, while in Israel 13 people were killed by Palestinian rockets, including two children. 

Late on Friday, Egyptian mediators were in contact with both Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza, seeking to bring hostilities to a quick end, according to Egyptian media. 

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Israel’s declared target in the operation, said it was not time for truce talks. 

Ran Kochav, a spokesperson of the Israeli army, also said Israel is not holding any negotiations and was preparing for the operation to last for a week. 

Prior to the operation, Israel had closed all borders in and out of Gaza, which is already suffering from a 15-year blockade that has left the occupied territory starved of medicine and essential commodities. 

World reactions

The UN envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said he was “deeply concerned” by the escalating violence.

“There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians,” said Wennesland following Israel’s bombardment.

“The progress made in gradually opening Gaza since the end of the May escalation risks being undone, leading to even greater humanitarian needs at a time when global resources are stretched, and international financial support for a renewed humanitarian effort in Gaza will not be easily available.”

Meanwhile, Turkey condemned the air strikes, saying it was “unacceptable that civilians, including children, lose their lives in attack”.

“We are deeply concerned about the rising tension in the region after the attacks. We emphasize the need to end these events before they turn into a new spiral of conflict,” a foreign ministry statement said.

Likewise, in a statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry strongly condemned Israeli “aggression”.

The statement called on the international community “to move urgently to stop the occupation’s repeated attacks against civilians, especially women and children”.

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan accused Israel of seeking to “subjugate” Palestinians through its massive military power to “eliminate” those who want to stand up for their rights and call for an end to Israeli occupation.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, countries that have signed normalization pacts with Israel since 2020, have refrained from condemning Tel Aviv. 

On the other hand, the United States affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself by striking Gaza. 

While the European Union has refrained so far from condemning Israel’s attacks, far-right politicians in the continent, like Geert Wilders, praised Tel Aviv for capping off “a very successful week against Islamic terrorists and jihadists”.