Strong condemnations of Hamas attacks roll in from Europe, sans Russia

Russia issued a statement calling “upon the Palestinians and Israel to immediately return to a sustainable cease-fire, [and] show restraint."

Bus hit by Hamas missile moments after soldiers disembark, November 13, 2018 (Courtesy)
France, Germany, Britain and the Czech Republic all issued strong condemnations of Hamas on Tuesday, while Turkey called for an end to “Israel’s attacks” and Russia chose not to utter a bad word about Hamas.
France “utterly condemns the numerous rocket attacks claimed by Hamas, which have deliberately targeted in recent hours several municipalities in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip,” it said in a statement released to the press.
It also “expresses its solidarity with the affected populations, and in particular with the families of the victims,” and “calls for the immediate cessation of these unacceptable and unjustifiable actions.” The statement called “on the parties to avoid a new cycle of violence,” and warned that the civilian population of would be “the first victims” of any conflict.
The statement from Germany read: “We strongly condemn this rocket fire. There can be no justification for this violence against innocent civilians. We have always made clear that Israel has the right to defend its security and respond appropriately to attacks.”
The UK’s Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt said, “I condemn Hamas rocket fire, and am deeply concerned by civilian casualties. Civilians in Israel and Gaza must be protected.”
The statements also expressed support for Egyptian and UN efforts to stabilize the situation.
The Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Tomas posted on twitter on Tuesday, "I strongly condemn Hamas & Islamic Jihad attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians.”
On Monday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that “rocket attacks against Israel & its civilian population are certainly not the way to solve any of Gaza’s problems & must stop immediately. It is of paramount importance that civilians are protected and violence is immediately stopped. AUT [Austria] is fully committed to Israel’s security.”
Emanuele Giaufret, the EU’s ambassador to Israel, posted a tweet saying that he was “following with great concern the situation and the indiscriminate firing of rockets towards the south of Israel. Attacks on civilians are unacceptable and need to stop. Everyone must step back from the brink.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Turkey – which routinely blasts Israel – issued a statement saying it is “deeply concerned by the new cycle of violence.” Ankara called on the international community “to take necessary steps in order to end Israel’s attacks which disregard the lives of innocent civilians.”
There was no word in the statement, however, of the more than 460 rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli civilians.
Russia also did not condemn the Hamas attacks, instead issuing a statement on Monday calling “upon the Palestinians and Israel to immediately return to a sustainable cease-fire, show restraint and take measures in order to avoid confrontation with unpredictable consequences.”
In the US, Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted strong support for Israel on Monday. “Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war. These rocket & mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.”
Greenblatt continued: “Hamas’ activities continue to prove they don’t really care about the Palestinians of Gaza & their only interest is to use them for political purposes. Even Palestinian lives seem not to matter to Hamas. The world has grown tired of Hamas’ violence and the violence of other bad actors in Gaza. This violence prevents any real help for the people of Gaza.”