Saturday April 01, 2023

World urges restraint in escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence

January 29, 2023

PARIS: World leaders on Saturday condemned the escalating violence in Israel and the Palestine territories and called for calm after a series of deadly incidents in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

An Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday killed nine Palestinians.

This was followed by a deadly shooting outside a Jerusalem synagogue on Friday and a gun attack by a 13-year-old Palestinian boy that wounded two in the city on Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the “terrorist attack” outside the al-Quds synagogue that killed seven was “particularly abhorrent” as it occurred at a place of worship on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to his spokesman.

The UN human rights office on Friday urged an end to the “endless cycle of violence” in the occupied West Bank. It said it was “very concerned” by the rise in Palestinian fatalities following one of the deadliest Israeli army raids in years.

President Joe Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to underscore that the synagogue shooting “was an attack against the civilized world”, the White House said in a readout of their telephone call. US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel condemned the “absolutely horrific” attack on the synagogue and underlined Washington´s “ironclad” commitment to Israel´s security.

The bloc´s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell strongly condemned “acts of insane violence and hate” after the “appalling terror attack” outside the synagogue.

Reacting to the Jenin raid, he said the EU recognised Israel´s “legitimate security concerns” but stressed that “lethal force must only be used as a last resort when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”. He said Israeli forces had killed 30 Palestinians in the West Bank since the start of the year, calling on all parties to “reverse this spiral of violence and engage in meaningful efforts to restart peace negotiations”.

Egypt -- one of the few Arab states with diplomatic ties with Israel -- said it “strongly condemned” the synagogue attack and “any attack against civilians”.

The foreign ministry urged Palestinians and Israelis to exercise restraint and cease provocations and aggression “to avoid sinking into a spiral of violence”.

The United Arab Emirates, another Arab state to have diplomatic relations with Israel, denounced “criminal acts” and all “violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human values and principles” following the synagogue shooting.

The foreign ministry said it expressed its condolences and sympathy with the Israeli people and the victims´ families over the “heinous crime”.

Regional power Saudi Arabia warned against “further dangerous escalation between Palestinians and Israelis”.

Meanwhile, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and wounded an Israeli father and son in east al-Quds on Saturday, hours after a gunman killed seven outside a synagogue, raising fears of escalation despite international calls for calm.

Following the deadliest spate of attacks in years, Israeli security chiefs were set to meet to consider tougher measures in response to the violence. The Saturday morning gun attack was in Silwan, just outside the walled Old City of Israeli-annexed east al-Quds.