UAE Urges 'Calm' in Gaza as Bahrain Condemns Israeli Strikes

While some Middle Eastern states took a harsher tone, others refrained from pinning the blame on either Israel or Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip

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Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, on Sunday.
Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, on Sunday.Credit: Hatem Moussa /AP
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Haaretz

The latest round of fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad, which has killed more than 40 Gazans so far, drew condemnations from Middle Eastern countries.

Days of war: Understanding this weekend's Israel-Gaza flare-up

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The United Arab Emirates, which has forged close ties with Israel since the two countries normalized ties two years ago, stressed in a Sunday statement “the need to restore calm to the Gaza Strip, reduce escalation, and preserve civilian lives.”

The Emirati statement added that it submitted a request, alongside other UN Security Council states, to discuss the developments on Monday, “and ways to support international efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace.”

Morocco, which also normalized ties with Israel in 2020, said that it "is following with great concern the serious deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip, due to the return of acts of violence and fighting, which have caused human casualties and material damage," while reiterating its commitment to an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Another of Israel's Gulf allies, Bahrain, took a more strident tone in "condemn[ing] the Israeli attacks on Gaza, resulting in loss of lives and property. It also expresses its grave concern of the repercussions of such attacks on the security and stability of the region."

The Foreign Ministry also sent "Bahrain’s heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the Government and people of Palestine and to the families of the victims, wishing those injured a speedy recovery. It also lauds the efforts exerted by the Arab Republic of Egypt to deescalate and contain the situation."

Qatar's Foreign Ministry warned that "the new Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip" might contribute "to a dangerous escalation and waves of violence."

Lebanon slammed Israel's "unjustified aggression on the Gaza Strip" and called on the international community to ensure Israel "abides by UN resolutions," highlighting the suffering of "Palestinian civilians...under the unjust Israeli siege."

Turkey, on Saturday, said it "strongly condemn[s] the airstrikes carried out by Israel on Gaza" the day before, adding, "It is unacceptable that civilians, including children, have lost their lives during the attacks. We are deeply concerned by the escalating tension in the region following the strikes."

"We stress the necessity for these incidents to end immediately, before turning into a new spiral of violence and call for restraint and common sense," the Turkish Foreign Ministry added.

Israel launched the military operation targeting Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, following several days in which Israel had feared that the militant group planned to respond to an arrest of one of its leaders in the West Bank by firing an anti-tank missile or directing sniper fire towards Israeli targets.

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