ANKARA – More than 7,000 people, most of them women and children, have been killed in Israel’s attacks on Gaza as calls for a cease-fire are either blocked or ignored by Western countries.
Anadolu correspondents compiled the reactions of many countries to Israel’s ongoing attacks on the Palestinian enclave.
While answering reporters’ questions during a speech at the White House, US President Joe Biden said they could discuss a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after all the hostages held by the Palestinian group Hamas were released.
A draft resolution submitted by the US to the UN Security Council on Oct. 25 which was later vetoed said that while “the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7 are strongly condemned,” countries have the right to self-defense.
It pointed out the necessity of a humanitarian pause in hostilities instead of a cease-fire but noted that sustainable aid should be provided to Gaza.
Draft resolutions submitted by Russia to the Security Council on Oct. 16 and 25 on the immediate declaration of a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza were vetoed by the US.
Europe does not support cease-fire
The European Union announced that it would not push for a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Peter Stano, a spokesman for the European Commission, saying “there is no call for a cease-fire from the EU at this stage.”
Stano said the bloc has not called for a cease-fire due to the ongoing “attacks” by Hamas.
French President Emmanuel Macron, during a visit of solidarity with Israel, said the international coalition formed against Daesh/ISIS could also fight against Hamas and that France is ready for this, calling for the creation of a regional and national coalition to fight terrorist groups.
He said the fight against Hamas should be carried out in a “brutal” way but not “without rules” and asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to comply with the law of war and allow humanitarian access to Gaza.
Macron, who held talks with the Palestinian Authority immediately after Israel, said nothing would justify the suffering experienced by civilians in Gaza.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also supported Israel, saying “like any other state in the world, Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism within the framework of international law.”
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said “we are closely and unshakably on Israel’s side” while responding to a question about the cease-fire.
“The attack is continuing. More than 200 hostages, almost all of them brutally kidnapped civilians, are still being held captive. In this respect, I do not know how a cease-fire can be expected because this attack continues,” he said.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez proposed holding a peace conference within six months to end the conflict between Israel and Palestine and recognize a Palestinian state in a press statement before an EU Summit in Brussels.
Calling for an immediate cease-fire to stop Israel’s attacks on Palestine in the Gaza Strip, he stressed that aid should be allowed to enter permanently to meet humanitarian needs.
Sanchez also reiterated his “clear, complete and unequivocal condemnation of Hamas’s attack on Israel,” saying that “Israel has the right to defend itself within the framework of human rights and international rights.”
Britain proposes ‘certain pauses’ instead of cease-fire
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak avoided mentioning a “cease-fire” while repeating the UK’s position on “Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Sunak was asked by Scottish National Party deputy leader Mhairi Black: “How much worse does the situation have to get before he will join us in calls for a humanitarian cease-fire?”
He replied by reiterating that “Israel has the right to defend itself under international law” and the need for a safer environment “necessitates specific pauses, as distinct from a cease-fire.”
Sunak said Hamas is responsible for the conflict and that his government will continue to urge Israelis to follow international law.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a speech at a session of the House of Representatives on the Israel-Hamas war that he was in favor of a “humanitarian pause in the hostilities” so that aid supplies could be delivered to Gaza.
Rutte said he believed that a cease-fire was undesirable and it would mean that Israel could no longer fight the threat from Hamas.
Saying he believes that a cease-fire is not possible at the moment and that it poses too many obstacles, he said that defending a cease-fire would isolate the Netherlands.
Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said at an EU Foreign Ministers Meeting he attended at the beginning of the week that his country once again condems Hamas’s attacks.
“We call for the release of the hostages. We continue our strong support for Israel’s right to self-defense.”
Radman said Croatia also supports humanitarian aid efforts.
“It is important to limit the loss of life and human suffering.” he said.
Bulgaria’s parliament also issued statements condemning the Hamas attack and said Israel’s most natural right is to defend itself.
Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said “Finland condemns all forms of terrorism. Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens in accordance with international law.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda in a post on his X account said “I met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog. I condemned Hamas’s aggression, especially its acts of violence against civilians. I assured (him) of Poland’s support for actions aimed at restoring security. Israel has the right to protect the lives of its citizens,” he said.
Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina said “Israel’s right to defend itself in accordance with international law is indisputable.” The Israeli flag was hung on Latvian government buildings.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said “there can be no justification for such terrorism. Israel has the right to defend itself. We must protect the lives of all civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster.”
Estonian President Alar Karis said “Israel has the right to defend itself and fight against the senseless violence of terrorists. Nothing can justify Hamas’ shocking acts of violence. They sow death, fear and destabilize the region.”
The Israeli flag was raised in front of the Presidential Office in solidarity with Israel.
Switzerland also emphasizes ‘self-defense’
The Swiss Foreign Ministry in a written statement said that Switzerland once again condemns terrorist acts, indiscriminate rocket fire at the Israeli people, and the kidnapping of Israeli citizens by Hamas.
The legitimate right of Israel to national defense and security was also underlined, and all parties were called upon to respect international law, in particular international humanitarian law, and to take measures to reduce tensions.
The ministry said there is an urgent need for a temporary halt to the fighting in order to deliver basic necessities to the civilian population in Gaza and to allow humanitarian organizations to access the Gaza Strip in accordance with international humanitarian law.
Italy, Malta support ‘two-state solution’
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, in her speeches since the beginning of the crisis, has stressed that Hamas must be condemned for its crimes, that Israel has the right to self-defense within the framework of international law and that at the same time, “we must all work together to prevent the crisis from escalating.” She reiterated that the way out of this is a “two-state solution.”
Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela also condemned all forms of violence and announced they are in favor of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Slovenia calls for ‘humanitarian cease-fire’
Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon in a statement at an EU Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Luxembourg earlier this week called for a humanitarian cease-fire to ensure the delivery of aid to Gaza.
Fajon said they are following with great concern the lack of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the water and food shortages that have occurred following Israel’s attacks.
“Conflicts should not spread to the region. We call on everyone to stop the conflict and the killing of civilians. Hundreds of water and food trucks are needed daily. In this case, this should be our biggest concern,” she said.
Denis Becirovic, the Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Zeljko Komsic, the Croatian member, also expressed their views in statements that the fighting should be stopped and a peaceful solution should be found.
Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of Catholics and head of the Vatican City State, made the following assessment during a Sunday prayer.
“I follow what is happening in Israel and Palestine. I express my particular pain and concern, pray and stand by the hostages, the victims and their families. I am thinking of the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza. It hurts me that the Anglican hospital and the Greek Orthodox parish have been hit in recent days,” he said.
“I reiterate my appeal for spaces to be opened, for humanitarian aid to continue to arrive, and for hostages to be freed.”
Ukraine called on the parties to the Israel-Palestine conflict to respect international humanitarian law.
In a statement from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, it was emphasized that any attacks on medical facilities or other critical civilian infrastructure are unacceptable under any circumstances.
The statement called on the conflicting parties to adhere strictly to the rules of war and to respect international humanitarian law.
“Ukrainians feel the pain of war deeply. It is vital to prevent the number of civilian casualties from increasing on both sides of the conflict in Israel and Palestine,” it added.
It also reiterated its belief that the Middle East peace process should continue to be the basis for efforts to achieve a two-state solution through peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine, as well as the restoration of regional stability and security.
Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with various countries including those in the Middle East.
Putin also stressed that the civilian population should be considered, despite all the suffering on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“The main task is to stop the bloodshed and violence. Otherwise, a further expansion of the crisis is fraught with grave and extremely dangerous, destructive consequences, and not only for the Middle East region. This could spill far beyond the borders of the Middle East,” he warned.
Putin said that Israel was under attack, adding “Israel is responding to this with wide-ranging and quite ruthless methods. Of course, we understand the logic of the events, but I believe that we should also think about the civilian population.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that “all violence against civilians, attacks on medical facilities and other civilian infrastructure are unacceptable.”
Russia also called for an urgent and lasting cease-fire that all parties would respect in its draft resolutions rejected by the UN Security Council, pointing to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry condemned violence against civilians in the conflict zone, expressing its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in both Israel and Gaza.
“We call for an immediate de-escalation of the situation,” it said.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, who attended the Open-ended Executive Committee Meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, reiterated his country’s position, calling for an end to military operations and tensions.
Bayramov said the international community must make joint efforts to resolve the crisis, that Azerbaijan is committed to Islamic solidarity, and that they support the Palestinian people’s struggle for statehood.
The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry called on the parties to the Israel-Gaza crisis to declare a cease-fire and begin political and diplomatic dialogue “as soon as possible.” The ministry also condemned the attack on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry called on Israel to refrain from using disproportionate force in Gaza, which has led to the deaths of many civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure.
In a statement, it said it has called on the parties to end hostilities as soon as possible and to intensify efforts to achieve peace, stability and security for the people of the region based on the “two states for two peoples” formula.
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry called on Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the crisis.
“We call on the warring parties to take all necessary measures to quickly end the armed conflict and resolve the crisis through political and diplomatic means,” it said.
Japan emphasizes need for ‘two-state solution’ in Israel-Palestine crisis
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, speaking at the Cairo Peace Summit, said they continue to support the “two-state solution” in the Israel-Palestine crisis and that Japan’s commitment to the issue will never change.
Noting that they are maintaining close consultations with both the Palestinians and Israelis as well as other actors in the region, Kamikawa said the most immediate challenge is to minimize the disruption of humanitarian aid.
She said a “tragedy” should not be allowed to close the window of opportunity for peace in the Middle East and the problem can be solved through dialogue.
China: Choice between war and peace
China has been calling on the Israelis and Palestinians to stop the conflict and protect civilians.
While condemning actions that target civilians and violate international law, Beijing has also been working through diplomatic channels to reduce tensions and prevent a humanitarian crisis.
Pointing out that a two-state solution is the only way to resolve the crisis, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for the convening of a timely and effective peace conference which will force the international community to reach a broader consensus.
Türkiye calls for cease-fire and humanitarian corridor
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attacks on Gaza have already surpassed the boundaries of self-defense and have turned into a clear and open act of oppression, atrocity, massacre and barbarism.
In response to a statement by the European Commission that “we cannot call for a cease-fire yet,” he said: “How many more people need to die? How many more children need to die? What is your calculation and how do you make it? Explain this. When is a cease-fire declared and when is it not? If you are engaged in politics, we are too.”
“I have been involved in politics for 40 years, but we have never stood idly by and cannot stand idly by in the face of such savagery. Western countries, seemingly in unison, are offering unconditional support to the Israeli government instead of urging them to act with reason,” he said.
Erdogan emphasized that first and foremost, all parties should withdraw their trigger fingers and an immediate cease-fire should be declared.
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan also pointed to the need for an immediate cease-fire and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor for aid. He said that Türkiye has an alternative peaceful solution and plan to offer. -AA