Smoke rises during an Israeli air strike in Gaza, November 12, 2018.
(photo credit: AHMED ZAKOT / REUTERS)
The United Nations, the European Union and Russia called on Palestinians and Israelis to put an immediate end to the sharp escalation in Gaza violence over the last 24 hours.
“A new war in Gaza would be an incredible tragedy,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters in Paris on Monday.
“We must avoid it at all costs,” he said.
UN Special Coordinator to the Middle Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Monday worked behind the scenes with Egypt to help calm the situation.
If both sides “fail to exercise maximum restraint, the situation will deteriorate significantly,” a diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post
European Union’s Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret tweeted that he was “following with great concern the situation and the indiscriminate firing of rockets toward the south of Israel."
“Attacks on civilians are unacceptable and need to stop. Everyone must step back from the brink," he wrote on Twitter.
The Russian Foreign Ministry agreed that the situation was dangerous because it could lead to a large-scale military operation and force a humanitarian collapse in Gaza.
“Moscow looks with deep concern over this dangerous escalation,” the ministry said.
Moscow held Israel responsible for the latest escalation, noting that it was provoked by Israel's military operation in Gaza on Sunday night.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called for the reunification of the Fatah and Hamas factions, and the resumption of a peace process with a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines.
Hamas has ruled Gaza since it ousted Fatah in a bloody coup in 2007. It is presumed that any successful peace process must also include the ending of that bitter rivalry.
On Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a security consultation with the Defense Minister, the IDF Chief of Staff and senior members of the defense establishment and the IDF.
He returned to Israel on Monday morning from Paris after he cut his trip short by a day to deal with the Gaza crisis.
In Paris on Sunday, he told reporters that he would do everything possible to avoid a needless war in Gaza.
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