On Saturday, rocket attacks were launched from the Gaza Strip into southern and central Israel, with dozens of Palestinian militants on trucks and paragliders infiltrating the country. In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched Operation Iron Swords to counter the multi-front attacks and targeted Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip.
Multiple countries instantly reacted to the Palestinian attack. Iran openly supported Hamas, while Western countries condemned the aggression. Meanwhile, Russia, among others, issued ambivalent statements, urging “restraint” from all parties involved — including Israel.
Countries that have called on Israel to cease fire or “show restraint”: Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, UAE; Iran celebrates Hamas victory
“An unprecedented escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is underway, the situation is unlikely to be resolved in the coming days,” said Russia's ambassador to Israel. The Russian Foreign Ministry called on both Palestine and Israel to cease fire.
“Russia is gravely concerned over a sharp escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In this we regard we would like to reaffirm our principled and consistent stance that this conflict, which has continued for 75 years, cannot be resolved by force and can be settled exclusively by political and diplomatic means, by engaging in a full-fledged negotiation process based on the well-known international legal framework stipulating the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with a capital in East Jerusalem that co-exists with Israel in peace and security.
We regard the current large-scale escalation as another extremely dangerous manifestation of a vicious circle of violence resulting from chronic failure to comply with the corresponding resolutions of the UN and its Security Council and the blocking by the West of the work of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators made up of Russia, the United States, the EU and the UN.
We call on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to implement an immediate ceasefire, renounce violence, exercise restraint and begin, with the assistance of the international community, a negotiation process aimed at establishing a comprehensive, lasting and long-awaited peace in the Middle East.”
In 2021, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a similar demand to Israel. Russia has been urging Israel to cede a portion of its territory to Palestine and halt its defensive actions. Russia has also reiterated Palestinian calls for it to play a role in resolving the conflict.
In September 2022, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Moscow. “From the Russian side, the importance of the speedy restoration of Palestinian national unity on the political platform of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was emphasized,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia
Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia warned against escalation amid a surprise attack by militants from the Gaza Strip on Israel on the morning of October 7. Meanwhile, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader congratulated Palestinian militants.
Egypt warned of “serious consequences” of escalating tensions. Egypt's Foreign Ministry said its officials were “conducting intensive contacts with Israeli, Palestinian sides and regional and international stakeholders to contain the current escalation.”
A spokesperson for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said he “warned against the danger of the situation deteriorating and sliding into more violence, the worsening of humanitarian conditions in Gaza and the region entering into a vicious cycle of tensions that threatens regional stability and security.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called on the parties “to act with restraint in light of the events in Israel this morning and to stay away from impulsive steps that will escalate tensions.” Speaking at his party's congress in Ankara, Erdogan separately called against “any attempt” to damage the “historical and religious status” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.
Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said in a statement that it was closely monitoring the developments and called for an immediate halt to the escalation. Meanwhile, Gen. Rahim Safavi, an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, congratulated Palestinian militants for launching the biggest attack on Israel in recent years, as reported by the ISNA news website. “We congratulate the Palestinian fighters,” it quoted him as saying. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
Who condemned Palestine: the UN, EU, US, Singapore and others
The European Union “strongly” condemned the attack on Israel by Palestinian Hamas militants and called for an immediate end to the violence. “It is terrorism in its most repulsive form,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on social media network X (formerly Twitter). “Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks.”
European Council President Charles Michel also spoke out in support of Israel: “Strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks launched against Israel and its people this morning inflicting terror and violence against innocent citizens. My thoughts are with all the victims. [The] EU stands in solidarity with [the] Israeli people in this horrific moment.”
The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin lights up with the Israeli flag, October 7, 2023.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “I condemn the attacks carried out from Gaza on Israel, its soldiers and its people. France stands in solidarity with Israel and the Israelis, committed to their security and their right to defend themselves.”
Ukraine also expressed its support for Israel. In a statement issued on Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attacks on civilians in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and stressed that Israel has the right to protect its citizens.
Singapore also strongly condemned the attack on Israel by Palestinian militants, calling for an immediate end to the violence. “Singapore strongly condemns the rocket and terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israel, which have resulted in the deaths and injuries of many innocent civilians,” a spokesman for the country's foreign ministry said on Saturday.