World reacts to Israel-Gaza war

AFP , Sunday 8 Oct 2023

Some countries around the world have condemned a wave of Palestinian attacks by land, sea, and air that Israel says has claimed more than 600 lives. Other countries called for a de-escalation of the conflict after Israel launched air strikes and other military operations targeting Gaza that Palestinian authorities say killed more than 370 people.

Israeli air strike on Gaza
Fire and smoke rise after an Israeli air strike targeted the National Bank on Gaza City, on October 8, 2023. AFP

"We are at war," Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, vowing severe retaliation after Hamas's surprise assault.

Here is a roundup of the reactions:

United States 

President Joe Biden said US support for Israel was "rock solid and unwavering".

"The United States stands with Israel," Biden said in a televised statement at the White House, flanked by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"We will not ever fail to have their back."

A White House official said talks with Israel on military aid were "very much underway".


A senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed support for the attack, calling it a "proud operation".

"We support this operation," Yahya Rahim Safavi said, quoted by ISNA news agency.

Safavi expressed backing for the Palestinian militants "until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem".

Saudi Arabia 

Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said: "The Kingdom calls for an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides, protection of civilians, and self-control".

"The Kingdom is reminded of its repeated warnings of the dangers of an explosive situation as a result of the continued occupation and deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights," it added.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged diplomatic efforts in the Middle East in order to prevent wider conflict, saying Saturday that "only through negotiation leading to a two-state solution can peace be achieved."

The UN's human rights chief Volker Turk demanded an immediate halt to the violence and urged all sides and key countries in the region to "de-escalate to avoid further bloodshed."

He added he was "deeply concerned at reports that Israeli civilians have been taken, hostage".

European Union

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said: "I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel."

"It is terrorism in its most despicable form. Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks," she said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said "This horrific violence must stop immediately. Terrorism and violence solve nothing. The EU expresses its solidarity with Israel in these difficult moments."

He added: "News of civilians taken as hostages in their homes or to Gaza is appalling. This is against international law. Hostages must be released immediately".


Brazil, which holds the UN Security Council presidency, condemned the attacks on Israel.

A statement from its foreign ministry urged "all parties to exercise maximum restraint in order to avoid escalating the situation".

Shortly after, it said it would call an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the crisis. The Council announced they would meet on Sunday.


China said it was "deeply concerned" by the weekend's dramatic escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, urging all sides to show "calm".

"China is deeply concerned about the current escalation of tension and violence between Palestine and Israel," Beijing's foreign ministry said, adding it "calls on all parties concerned to remain calm and exercise restraint, cease fire immediately, protect civilians and prevent further deterioration of the situation".


Russia's foreign ministry called for an "immediate ceasefire".

"We call on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to immediately cease fire, renounce violence, show the necessary restraint and, with the help of the international community, establish a negotiation process aimed at establishing a comprehensive, lasting and long-awaited peace," ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country is fending off a Russian invasion, said Israel had an "indisputable" right to defend itself.

He added he had reiterated Kyiv's support in a call to Netanyahu.

"I spoke with Netanyahu to affirm Ukraine's solidarity with Israel, which suffers from a brazen large-scale attack, and to express condolences for the multiple victims," Zelensky said, adding that "terror is always a crime."


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Israel and Palestinians to avoid further escalation.

"We invite all parties to act reasonably and to stay away from impulsive steps that raise tensions," said Erdogan, who strongly supports the Palestinian cause.


France expressed "full solidarity with Israel and the victims" and underscored "its absolute rejection of terrorism and its commitment to Israel's security".

President Emmanuel Macron said he "firmly condemns" the attacks.


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Israel has the right to defend itself against the attacks and "to protect its citizens and to pursue the attackers."

He added he planned talks with leaders from Egypt, the United States, Britain, and France and had called Netanyahu to tell him Germany stands "firmly and unwaveringly by Israel's side".


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that "Israel has an absolute right to defend itself."

"As the barbarity of today's atrocities becomes clearer, we stand unequivocally with Israel. This attack by Hamas is cowardly and depraved," Sunak added in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.


Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called Netanyahu to whom she "reaffirmed Rome's full solidarity" following the Hamas offensive.

"The Italian government will work with international partners to coordinate support" for Israel, Rome said in a statement.

"Italy stands by the Israeli people at this difficult time".


Japan "strongly condemns" the cross-border attacks, foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa said.

Tokyo also criticized the capture of a number of Israelis, including several civilians, she said in a statement.

"Meanwhile, we are seriously concerned about the large number of casualties in the Gaza Strip as a result of attacks by the Israel Defence Forces," her statement continued.

"Japan once again calls on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint to prevent further damage."

South Africa 

South Africa's foreign ministry expressed its "grave concern over the recent devastating escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".

"The region is in desperate need of a credible peace process that delivers on the calls of a plethora of previous UN resolutions for a two-state solution and a just and comprehensive peace between Israel and Palestine," it added.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country stood "in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour".

"Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel," Modi said.


Venezuela's government expressed its "deep concern" over the clashes.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, it said the fighting was "the result of the impossibility of the Palestinian people to find in multilateral international legality a space to assert their historic rights".


In Yemen, Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa expressed their support for "the heroic jihadist operation".

In a statement published on the website of the Houthi-controlled SABA news agency, the Iran-aligned militant group said the attack "revealed the weakness, fragility and impotence" of Israel.

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