West, Middle East divided on raging Palestinian-Israeli conflict

In their phone talks, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas expressed "deep concern" over the continuation of the current escalation and the ensuing severe deterioration of the security and humanitarian conditions.

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People walk past the entrance of a school destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Oct. 8, 2023. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

The Israeli government formally declared war and greenlighted “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas for its surprise attack, as the military labored into Monday to crush fighters still in southern towns and intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

More than 1,000 people have been killed, with thousands wounded on both sides. The latest death toll from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza has risen to 413, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, with more than 2,300 others injured, while Israel’s state-owned Kan TV news reported the death toll in Israel has reached 700.

The fighting continued at several locations Monday morning.

RESPONSES FROM MIDDLE EAST

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, on Sunday held a phone conversation, expressing “deep concern” over the continuation of the current escalation and the ensuing severe deterioration of the security and humanitarian conditions.

The two presidents highlighted the danger of the absence of a political prospect and the exacerbation of the current conditions, which threaten civilian lives as well as the region’s security and stability, the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.

King Abdullah II of Jordan and United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Sunday discussed the dangerous military escalation in Gaza and the need for Palestinians and Israelis to exercise self-restraint.

In a separate phone call with Abbas on Sunday, the Jordanian king stressed Jordan’s unwavering position on the Palestinian cause, underlining the need to find a political solution that guarantees all the just and legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

The Jordanian king called for stepping up joint efforts to push the two sides towards committing to self-restraint, protecting civilians, and respecting international humanitarian law.

Syria’s ruling al-Baath party condemned Israeli practices and reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian struggle.

WEST’S STANCES

However, the West’s take on the conflict is quite another picture.

“The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel,” U.S. President Joe Biden said during talks with Netanyahu on Sunday about the ongoing attacks in Israel, according to a White House statement.

Later on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington is looking at additional requests for assistance that the Israelis have made, and there could be developments on that front.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he spoke Sunday with Netanyahu and assured him that Israel’s security is a cornerstone of German policy.

“We will act accordingly,” he pledged, saying he planned to speak to al-Sisi and will support Egypt in efforts to mediate and de-escalate.

“It is clear that we condemn the actions of Hamas in the strongest terms, but above all, we are doing everything so that this attack doesn’t turn into a conflagration with incalculable consequences for the whole region — and we warn everyone in this situation against fueling terrorism,” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday strongly condemned the attacks against Israel.

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks which are currently hitting Israel. I express my full solidarity with the victims, and their families and those close to them,” Macron wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

He followed this up with a confirmation that he had spoken to both Israeli President Issac Herzog and Prime Minister Netanyahu. “France stands in solidarity with Israel and the Israelis, committed to their security and their right to defend themselves.”

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Sunday urged Lebanon and Israel to “exercise restraint” after an exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel earlier in the morning on the borders in southern Lebanon.

“We urge everyone to exercise restraint and take advantage of the liaison and coordination mechanisms undertaken by UNIFIL to reduce the escalation and prevent the rapid deterioration of the security situation,” UNIFIL official spokesman Andrea Tenenti said in a statement released by the National News Agency of Lebanon.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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