World leaders have made statements of support for Israel in the face of the Hamas rocket attacks and incursion Saturday, stressing the country’s right to defend itself. But some regional officials have taken a stance that Israel invited this attack due its treatment of the Palestinian people.
In a video message early Saturday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Citizens of Israel, we are at war — not in an operation, not in rounds — at war.”
“The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added, promising Israel would “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known.”
Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists invaded areas of southern Israel as rocket barrages launched from the Gaza Strip struck the area Saturday, killing at least 200 Israelis and wounding at least 985 others, according to The Associated Press.
President Biden called the attack “appalling” and “unconscionable,” stressing “there is never any justification for terrorism.”
“Let me say this as clearly as I can: This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks, to seek advantage,” Biden added. “The world is watching.”
He reiterated that U.S. support for Israel and its right to defend itself remains “rock solid and unwavering.” He revealed he has been in touch with the King of Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Turkey.
“It’s also a terrible tragedy on a human level. It’s hurting innocent people, seeing the lives that have been broken by this, the families torn apart,” Biden added. “It’s heartbreaking. Jill and I are praying for those families who’ve been impacted by this violence.”
Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, in a televised speech, told Arab nations that have normalized ties with Israel in recent years that “this entity, which cannot protect itself in the face of resistors, cannot provide you with any protection.”
“All the normalization agreements that you signed with that entity cannot resolve this (Palestinian) conflict,” he said, adding that Hamas intends to expand the fighting in Gaza to the West Bank and Jerusalem, which he called “the heart of the ‘Zionist entity.'”
U.N Secretary-General António Guterres urged “maximum restraint” as Israeli Defense Forces conducted a counteroffensive and called for “the immediate release of all abducted persons.”
“The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms this morning’s attack by Hamas against Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip and central Israel, including the firing of thousands of rockets toward Israeli population centers,” Guterres spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on social media platform X called the attack “terrorism in its most despicable form” and “unequivocally” condemned the attack against Israel while reiterating that Israel has the right to defend itself from “such heinous attacks.”
French President Emmanuel Macron “strongly” condemned the attack and expressed “full solidarity with the victim.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on social media he was “deeply shocked” by the news and that Germany condemns the attacks.
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi expressed he was “deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel,” adding that the country’s “thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”
Some countries, including Egypt and Morocco, took more nebulous stances and merely condemned “violence against civilians wherever they may be” while stressing a concern of the “deteriorating situation.” Some, like Turkey, only asked for “restraint from all parties” without condemning either side.
Other countries in the Middle East appeared to back Hamas, arguing for its right to defend itself and in some cases seeming to blame Israel for prompting the attack due to its treatment of the Palestinian people.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded to the attacks by chairing an emergency leadership meeting of the Palestinian Authority and ordering the “protection of the Palestinian people” while underscoring their right to defend themselves.
Abbas also gave directions “to provide all that is necessary to bolster the resilience and steadfastness of the Palestinian people in facing the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation and settler gangs,” the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
Hezbollah-run Al Manar “hailed” the “heroic Palestinian resistance’s major operation,” praising Hamas for the “valiant and wide-scale operation which was crowned with triumph and divine assistance.”
Iran, which some American officials have already blamed as the main backer of Hamas and its attack, applauded the attack and cheered on the “liberation of Palestine,” according to reports.
“We congratulate the Palestinian fighters,” Yahya Rahim Safavi, an Iranian military commander and special adviser, said, according to the state-affiliated Iranian Students’ News Agency. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
Saudi Arabia appeared to lay blame on Israel for the conflict, referring to its past “warnings” to Israel about the treatment of the Palestinian people as the Foreign Ministry noted it was “closely following the developments.”
“The Kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the explosion of the situation as a result of the continued occupation and deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights and the repetition of systematic provocations against its sanctities,” the statement said, adding a call for renewed effort to reach a two-state solution but referring to Israel’s military as the “Occupation Forces.”
Qatar, which is acting as a banker for assets that the U.S. agreed to release to Iran in exchange for the release of some prisoners, said it holds Israel “solely” responsible for the “ongoing escalation” due to “ongoing violations” of the rights of the Palestinian people.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates the firm position of the State of Qatar regarding the justice of the Palestinian cause, and the legitimate rights of the brother Palestinian people,” the ministry said in a statement, calling for “the interactional community act urgently to compel Israel to stop its flagrant violations of international law.”
The United Nations Security Council will convene Sunday to discuss the situation.
“The Security Council will convene tomorrow to … discuss the situation in Gaza today,” Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan told Fox News’ Eric Shawn. “Everyone, when they see the atrocities committed against our civilians, they support publicly Israel.
“But it is today. I hope they will remember also tomorrow and the days after when we will try to exact a heavy price from these animals, and we’ll try to change the equation, and we will try to fight this evil. They will remember that they need to support us when we are fighting against terrorism, when we are fighting evil.”