Foreign Minister Eli Cohen briefed over 100 foreign ambassadors and diplomats about Operation Shield and Arrow on Wednesday.
“Israel will not hesitate to fight to the end with the Iran-funded Islamic Jihad terrorist organization,” Cohen warned. “Their whole goal is to hurt Israeli civilians and sow destruction… Israel makes a constant effort to avoid harming innocent bystanders, unlike the Palestinian terrorist organizations who aim their terrorist attacks at Israeli civilians.”
Cohen, who cut a diplomatic visit to India short due to the operation, said that every missile from Gaza is “a double war crime,” in that it is shot from populated areas, using Gaza residents as human shields, towards civilian populations.
“The government of Israel will not be deterred from defending its citizens with all of the tools it has,” he stated.
"The government of Israel will not be deterred from defending its citizens with all of the tools it has"Foreign Minister Eli Cohen
UN Security Council holds emergency session on Gaza
The United Nations Security Council was set to hold a closed-door emergency council session on Gaza late Wednesday afternoon in New York, in what will be its ninth meeting this year on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United Arab Emirates called for the meeting along with China and France.
Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan wrote a letter to the UNSC calling on it to “condemn the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians launched from Gaza, and to support Israel in our legitimate right of self-defense.”
Members of Congress in the US spoke out in support of Israel.
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that “Israel has taken necessary action against terrorist leaders in the Gaza Strip to protect its citizens and maintain national security.
“Such Iran-controlled terrorists pose a direct threat not only to Israel but also to the safety and security of the American people” Cruz stated. “The government of Israel has the responsibility and obligation to defend its citizens, and I stand with our ally as it confronts those who seek chaos and destruction.”
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) tweeted: “Imagine how high the death toll would be were it not for Iron Dome, which has intercepted almost all the missiles fired and saved lives. I will continue voting for missile defense systems that protect civilians from terrorism.”
Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) tweeted that she is “proud to support the lifesaving Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept incoming rockets and protect our ally Israel’s safety and security.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said that “Iranian-backed terrorists are firing deadly rockets from Gaza into Israel in what must be an extremely fearful situation for families. Israel continues to try to keep people safe from terrorism and work toward lasting peace. We want the people of Israel to know that Americans continue to stand beside our friend and ally.”
UK Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Lord Tariq Ahmad condemned “the indiscriminate rockets from Gaza targeting innocent civilians in Israel.
“Attacks on civilians are unacceptable, and this violence must stop,” he tweeted. “The UK calls for an immediate cessation of these attacks – the only lasting solution is for peace to prevail.”
The minister told the House of Lords on Wednesday that “we welcome the fact that Hamas have not been involved in this conflict nor involved in escalating, and we think that is a good thing... We’ve seen the issue of escalation and the need for deescalation be directly addressed by the Israelis themselves.”
On Tuesday, Israel sent Hamas messages via Egypt that the terrorist group governing Gaza should stay out of the fight, lest their leadership be targeted.
EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans said that the EU “strongly condemn[s] the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza. We mourn the loss of innocent civilian life in Gaza.
“We recognize Israel’s right to ensure its security and stop acts of terrorism,” Koopmans said, but added a call for “restraint, proportionate use of force and respect for international humanitarian law.”
Germany "strongly condemn[ed] the massive rocket fire on Israel from Gaza. There is no justification for these indiscriminate attacks & they must be stopped immediately.
"There have already been too many innocent victims this year," the German Foreign Ministry tweeted. "The people in Israel and Gaza have the right to live in peace and without fear."
The French Embassy in Israel tweeted: "We condemn in the strongest terms the hundreds of rocket attacks targeting Israel today. Any attack targeting civilians, regardless of its origin, constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. We reiterate our calls for restraint in order to avoid any further escalation."
Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin said he “deeply regret[s] the loss of life in Gaza. The killing of civilians, including children, is never acceptable... I condemn all acts of terrorism, including the firing of rockets into Gaza into Israel.”
Martin also said he is “disturbed” by Israel demolishing an EU-funded Palestinian school and that the EU is seeking compensation for the structure. The school was built illegally, without permission from Israeli authorities that control Area C per the Oslo Accords.
Brazil released a statement against “the bombing carried out... by the Israeli Air Force on residential areas in the Gaza Strip, in the State of Palestine, causing the death of at least 13 Palestinian citizens, including 10 civilians, among which were children.”
Brasilia appealed “to the parties to refrain from actions that lead to an escalation of terrorism” and called for a two-state solution, saying that managing the conflict is not a viable alternative.
Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry “strongly condemns the firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza by terrorist organizations, which hit urban areas and put the lives of people who reside in the surrounding area at risk.”
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.