Streaks of light are pictured as rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from the Israeli side of the border March 25, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Responses poured in from around the world on Saturday as Israel and Gaza descended into one of the most intense rounds of fighting between the two sides in the past few months.
Around 300 rockets were fired into Israel over a 17 hour period, killing 1 and injuring 83 people.
"Hamas & PIJ have engaged in yet another deplorable act of terrorism, indiscriminately firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilian communities," US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt stated in a tweet. "The U.S. stands firmly in support of Israel’s right to self-defense and we call on the international community to do the same. When Hamas and PIJ continue to choose terrorism, they prevent the world from trying to help the Palestinians in Gaza and they cause harm to Palestinians."
"The United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel," said the US Department of State in a statement. "We call on those responsible for the violence to cease this aggression immediately," the statement continued. "We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self defense against these abhorrent attacks."
The statement also noted that US citizens should exercise caution and remain alert to emergency situations, as noted in the State Department Travel Advisory.
"This indiscriminate firing at civilian population is inexcusable and must be immediately condemned by the international community," Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL tweeted.
"If this was any other country, the international community would raise havoc. No other country would sit back and take this. Why should Israel? #DoubleStandard," former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tweeted on Saturday.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov called on all parties to “immediately de-escalate and return to the understandings of the past few months.”
“Those who seek to destroy them will bear responsibility for a conflict that will have grave consequences for all," Mladenov said in a statement, adding that "continuing down the current path of escalation will quickly undo what has been achieved and destroy the chances for long term solutions to the crisis. This endless cycle of violence must end, and efforts must accelerate to realize a political solution to the crisis in Gaza."
"The rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel must stop immediately
," said Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, in a statement. "A de-escalation of this dangerous situation is urgently needed to ensure that civilians' lives are protected. Israelis and Palestinians both have the right to live in peace, security and dignity. Only a political solution can put an end to the violence. Efforts by Egypt and the UN to calm the situation have the European Union’s full support."
"We strongly condemn Israel’s attack against Anadolu
Agency’s office in Gaza," said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the offices of Turkish state news agency Anadolu
were destroyed in an Israeli airstrike. "Turkey and Anadolu
Agency will continue to tell the world about Israeli terrorism and atrocities in Gaza and other parts of Palestine despite such attacks."
Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini tweeted in favor of Israel, saying "Harsh rocket attack against Israel, all my solidarity with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli people."
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