Global leaders have been watching tension in the Middle East escalate after Palestinian militant group Hamas unleashed an attack near the Gaza strip on Saturday, launching rockets in the air and sending fighters to attack on land. At least 600 people have died as a result of the attack, according to Israeli authorities, with both soldiers and civilians reportedly taken hostage by Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that his country is at war, and told global leaders that a “long, difficult” campaign against Hamas will take place. “The Israel Defense Forces will act immediately to destroy Hamas’ capabilities,” said Netanyahu on Sunday. “We will cripple them mercilessly and avenge this black day they have brought upon Israel and its citizens.”
Below, find out what the world leaders have said about the attack on Israel.
U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the attack, referring to it as an “appalling assault against Israel.” In a statement uploaded to the official White House website, he said: “Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation. My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
The U.S. has continuously spoken about the country’s commitment to Israel’s security, and has been strong allies with Israel for decades. Hamas was designated as a terrorist group by the U.S in 1997.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
In a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Canada strongly condemns the current terrorist attacks against Israel. These acts of violence are completely unacceptable. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this. Civilian life must be protected.”
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak posted on X: “As the barbarity of today’s atrocities becomes clearer, we stand unequivocally with Israel. This attack by Hamas is cowardly and depraved. We have expressed our full solidarity to [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu and will work with international partners in the next 24 hours to co-ordinate support.” He later returned to X to share a video statement about his solidarity.
The scenes we have seen in Israel over the last 36 hours are truly horrifying.
I spoke to Prime Minister @netanyahu earlier today to assure him of the UK’s steadfast support as Israel defends itself against these attacks.
Terrorism will not prevail. pic.twitter.com/5EGoqiZM8b
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 8, 2023
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly supported the idea that Israel has the “right to defend itself” and that the UK will always support that endeavor.
Iranian Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani
Iran’s foreign ministry said that the Hamas group acted in self defense when it attacked Israel, and vocalized their support for the group.
“This operation … is the spontaneous movement of resistance groups and Palestine’s oppressed people in defense of their inalienable rights and their natural reaction to the Zionists’ warmongering and provocative policies,” Iranian spokesperson Nasser Kanaani is quoted as saying, according to Reuters.
Kanaani reportedly added that Israel’s supporters are responsible for the “violence and killing against Palestinians” and asked Islamic countries to support them.
Iran’s role in the most recent attack is unclear, but the Biden administration has claimed that Tehran has provided funding and weapons to the Hamas group, per the Wall Street Journal.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it is “closely following” the situation between Palestinian and Israeli forces, and called for “an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides.”
Saudi Arabia also called for the international community to try and create a two-state solution to build peace in the area.
#Statement | The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is closely following the developments of the unprecedented situation between a number of Palestinian factions and the Israeli occupation forces, which has resulted in a high level of violence on several fronts there. pic.twitter.com/KEFsNB5ZVb
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) October 7, 2023
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
The Chancellor of Germany called news of the attacks “horrifying” and said he was “deeply shocked” by the violence. “Germany condemns these attacks by Hamas and stands by Israel,” he said on X on Saturday morning.
On Sunday, Scholz announced that he was increasing the security of Israeli and Jewish temples, schools and monuments in the country and spoke out against reported German celebrations of the attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron
The President of France similarly denounced the attacks, and shared France’s support of the Israeli people and their security on Saturday. “I have spoken to President Herzog and Prime Minister Netanyahu. I condemn the attacks carried out from Gaza on Israel, its soldiers and its people,” he said. “France stands in solidarity with Israel and the Israelis, committed to their security and their right to defend themselves.”
I have spoken to President Herzog and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
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.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) October 7, 2023
Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Officials from Qatar have expressed deep concern over the conflict. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds Israel alone responsible for the current escalation due to its ongoing violence of the rights of the Palestinian people, the latest of which is the repeated raids on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli police,” they wrote in a public statement.
State officials urged the international community to ask Israel to stop “its blatant violation of international law.”
Statement | Qatar Expresses Concern over the Developments in Gaza Strip and Calls for De-escalation#MOFAQatar pic.twitter.com/QtoyaFDnRw
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Qatar (@MofaQatar_EN) October 7, 2023
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky
In a statement posted on X, Zelensky wrote: “Today, the entire world saw horrifying videos from Israel. Terrorists humiliate women and men, detain even the elderly, and show no mercy. In the face of such a terrorist strike, everyone who values life must stand in solidarity.”
Today, the entire world saw horrifying videos from Israel. Terrorists humiliate women and men, detain even the elderly, and show no mercy.
In the face of such a terrorist strike, everyone who values life must stand in solidarity.
We in Ukraine have a special feeling about… pic.twitter.com/AnBgVO2X0J
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 7, 2023
Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida
Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida strongly condemned the attacks on Israel. In a statement posted to X, he wrote: “Hamas and other Palestinian militants attacked Israel from Gaza yesterday. Japan strongly condemns the attacks which severely harmed innocent civilians. I express my condolences to the bereaved families and heartfelt sympathies to the injured.”
Hamas and other Palestinian militants attacked Israel from Gaza yesterday. Japan strongly condemns the attacks which severely harmed innocent civilians. I express my condolences to the bereaved families and heartfelt sympathies to the injured.
— 岸田文雄 (@kishida230) October 8, 2023