World reacts after Israeli forces wound hundreds in Al-Aqsa raid
Condemnation of Israeli raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Hamas rocket attacks as tensions soar.
Palestinian protesters run from Israeli security forces amid clashes in Jerusalem's Old City [Emmanuel Dunand/AFP]
Reactions have poured in from around the world after days of unrest in Jerusalem, where hundreds were wounded and dozens arrested on Monday after Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Palestinians had over the past couple of weeks staged a series of sit-ins in the area and parts of occupied East Jerusalem to denounce Israel’s attempt to forcefully expel residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood to make way for Jewish settlements.
Responding to the crackdown, Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip, issued an ultimatum to Israel, saying it had until 6pm (15:00 GMT) to withdraw its forces from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site which is also revered by Jews.
Shortly after the deadline expired, Hamas fired several rockets into Israel. Israel responded by launching air raids at the besieged territory, killing 20 people, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
Here is how countries and the international community have so far reacted to the events:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to mobilise the world to stop Israeli “terror”, in phone calls to Palestinian leaders.
In the calls to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Erdogan denounced Israel’s actions and extended support.
The Turkish leader pledged to “do everything in his power to mobilise the world, starting with the Islamic world, to stop Israel’s terror and occupation”, his office said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter to blame Israel for stealing “people’s land & homes” and creating “an Apartheid regime”.
He also accused Israel of refusing to vaccinate citizens “under illegal occupation” and accused Israeli police of shooting “innocent worshippers” inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
On Saturday, a foreign ministry spokesman called on the United Nations to condemn the Israeli police action in the mosque compound, saying it amounted to a “war crime”.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it “firmly” condemned “the new incursion of Israeli forces into the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
Egypt’s assistant minister of foreign affairs, Nazih al-Najari, on Monday met the Israeli ambassador in Cairo, Amira Oron, to say Egypt rejected and denounced Israel’s action.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip into Israel were an “unacceptable escalation”, adding that the United States was “fully engaged” to promote calm in Jerusalem.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his deep concern over the situation in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the possible forced expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
In a statement issued by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief urged Israel to “cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law”.
“Israeli authorities must exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement,” he said.
Middle East Quartet
The four members of the Middle East Quartet – the US, Russia, the European Union and the UN – on Saturday expressed “deep concern” over violence in Jerusalem.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to the violence, saying he was “following with particular concern the events that are happening in Jerusalem”.
“I pray so that this might be a place of encounter and not violent clashes, a place of prayer and of peace,” he said.
“Violence only generates violence. Let’s stop these clashes.”
Speaking after an EU meeting in Brussels, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday the bloc had been “exerting influence for a long time” and that he had spoken to contacts in the US, Jordan and Israel in recent days.
“We can only call on all sides to deescalate this truly explosive situation. both sides can contribute to this,” he told reporters in Brussels.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday that the United Kingdom condemned the firing of rockets by Hamas at Jerusalem and locations within Israel.
“The ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza must stop. We need an immediate de-escalation on all sides, and end to targeting of civilian populations,” Raab said on Twitter
Before a planned march to commemorate Israel’s capture of Jerusalem in 1967 – later scrapped – a French foreign ministry spokeswoman warned of the risk of a “large scale escalation”.
“France calls on all concerned to show the greatest restraint and refrain from any provocation to allow a return to calm as swiftly as possible,” the spokeswoman said on Monday.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo said the forced evictions of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah and the use of force in the Al-Aqsa Mosque could “not be ignored”.
Writing on Twitter, Widodo said: “Indonesia condemns such acts and urges the UN Security Council to take measures on the repeated violations carried out by Israel. Indonesia will continue to stand with the people of Palestine.”
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES
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