The European Union (EU) and the United States have condemned the recent violence in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip and demand that the violence end.
“The significant rise in violence in the West Bank, in and around the Gaza Strip and in East Jerusalem must stop immediately,” a spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.
Days of protests by Palestinians in Jerusalem against the expulsion of families to make way for Jewish settlers have resulted in Palestinian rocket fire from Israel and Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
Launching missiles from the Gaza Strip on the civilian population in Israel is entirely unacceptable and leads to escalation. All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists, the EU spokesman said in a statement. “We reiterate our call on both sides to commit to de-escalating the situation. Further civilian casualties must be avoided.”
The American foreign minister Antony Blinken has also called on both sides to stop the attacks. “I am very concerned about the missile attacks,” he said. “All parties must take steps to de-escalate and to ease tensions.”
The Palestinian Hamas Movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, had issued an ultimatum to Israel on Monday. If the country didn’t remove security forces and settlers from an Arab neighbourhood in Jerusalem, Hamas would go on the offensive. In the meantime, the group has fired more than a hundred rockets, according to its own words.
Israel says it killed three members of Hamas. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 20 people were killed in the north of the Gaza Strip, including nine children. Nothing is yet known about Israeli victims of Palestinian missiles.
Israel also celebrated Jerusalem Day on Monday, an annual holiday commemorating the 1967 conquest of East Jerusalem. The authorities had already decided that Jewish groups would not be allowed to enter the vicinity of the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount to prevent further unrest come.