ICYMI

April 15, 2024

Global condemnation trails Iran’s attack on Israel

Global condemnation trails Iran's attack on Israel

…Iran’s attack on Israel: What we know
…Israeli cabinet debates response to Iran attack

By Tunde Oso (with agencies report)

Countries around the world yesterday condemned Iran’s strikes on Israel, warning the attack could further destabilise the Middle East.

This is as Israel is debating Iran’s attack response at the Knesset with the US and her allies scrambling to stop a slide into an all-out war.

Israeli officials say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet favours a retaliation against Iran for its mass drone and missile attack, but is divided over the timing and scale of any such response, according to Israeli media reports.

Israeli cabinet debates response to Iran attack

The five-member cabinet, in which Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz have decision-making powers, met yesterday and was expected to convene again for further discussions.

The Times of Israel, citing multiple Hebrew media outlets, reported that Gantz and his political ally Gadi Eisenkot, an observer in the war cabinet, suggested retaliating, even during Iran’s attack.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that Gallant, Army Chief Herzi Halevi and others opposed this idea, in part because the Israeli air force was already deployed to intercept the incoming drones and missiles.

Benny Gantz, the opposition leader, who joined the war cabinet after the Hamas attacks of 7 October, emphasised the cohesion of Israel and its western allies.

“Israel against Iran, the world against Iran. This is the result. That is a strategic achievement which we must leverage for Israel’s security.”

The words Mr Gantz used did not rule out another attack on an Iranian target, or a first overt Israeli strike inside Iran (Israel has hit Iran’s nuclear programme repeatedly, with cyber-attacks and the assassination of officials and scientists).

But there might be time for the diplomatic response President Joe Biden wants from the meeting he has called of the G7, the richest western countries.

This most recent escalation of the war that has spread across the Middle East since Hamas attacked Israel began two weeks ago, when Israel attacked Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus. The air strike, on 1 April, killed a senior general, his number two and other aides.

Iran attack on Israel: What we know

Iran launched its first-ever direct assault on Israeli territory late Saturday in retaliation for a deadly strike by Israel on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus on April 1.

Experts say Israel was able to neutralise most of the attacking missiles and drones — but that Iran had deliberately sought to keep the intensity of the attack below a presumed threshold for inevitable Israeli retaliation.

Calculated attack by Iran

Iran’s foreign minister said it had announced Saturday’s retaliatory attack in advance, which it called “limited, minimal”, and “aimed at punishing the Israeli regime”.

Several experts said this shows Iran was seeking a show of strength with its attack, but without sparking an escalation.
Julien Barnes-Dacey, Middle East programme director at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said on X that Iran’s “weak” drone showing was meant to signal that Tehran wanted to “avoid a wider war”.

US political scientist Ian Bremmer called the situation “stressful”, but he also suggested it was “best to breathe a bit”.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned “the serious escalation”.

“I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation,” he added, calling on parties to “avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East”.
European Union

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen called on Iran to “immediately cease” attacks, saying in a message on X, formerly Twitter, that “all actors must now refrain from further escalation and work to restore stability in the region”.

Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc “condemns in the strongest terms” the attack, calling it “an unprecedented escalation and a threat to regional security.”
G7
The G7 group expressed its “full solidarity and support to Israel and its people and reaffirm our commitment towards its security”, the group said in a statement following video talks.

“We demand that Iran and its proxies cease their attacks, and we stand ready to take further measures now and in response to further destabilising initiatives”, it said.

NATO

NATO spokesperson Farah Dakhlallah said the military alliance condemned Iran’s attack and is “monitoring developments closely”, warning it is “vital that the conflict in the Middle East does not spiral out of control”.

China

Beijing also urged restraint, calling the attack “the latest spillover of the Gaza conflict” and calling for the implementation of a recent UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire.

“China calls on the international community, especially countries with influence, to play a constructive role for the peace and stability of the region.”

United States

US President Joe Biden promised “iron-clad” support for Israel after holding an urgent meeting with top security officials.
“Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is iron-clad,” Biden said on X, posting a picture of the meeting in the White House Situation Room.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” later that “we don’t want to see this escalate”.

“We’re not looking for a wider war with Iran”, he said.

Britain

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the “reckless” strikes, which he said “risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region”.

He called for “calm heads to prevail” and added Britain will “be working with our allies to de-escalate the situation”.

Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa “unequivocally condemns Iran’s airborne attacks”, adding: “We stand with Israel.”

Egypt

Cairo expressed “deep concern” at the escalation of hostilities and called for “maximum restraint”.

The foreign ministry also warned of the “risk of the regional expansion of the conflict”, and added Egypt would be “in direct contact with all parties to the conflict to try and contain the situation”.

France

French President Emmanuel Macron said on X: “I condemn in the strongest terms the unprecedented attack launched by Iran against Israel, which carries the risk of destabilising the region”.

Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the Iranian attack as “irresponsible and unjustifiable”, his spokesman said.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the attack took the region to the “edge of a precipice”.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s foreign ministry said it was “deeply concerned” and called on the UN Security Council “to act immediately to de-escalate tensions and continue working towards lasting peace in the Middle East, including by ending the illegal occupation of Palestine and various violations of international law by Israel”.

Iraq

Iraq’s President Abdel Latif Rashid called for a “reduction of tensions”, and warned against the “spread of conflict” and emphasised “the need to stop the aggression against the Gaza Strip and to find a solution to the Palestinian question, given this is a fundamental element to the stability of the region”.

Italy

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni condemned the attack and said she feared “destabilisation of the region”.

Qatar

Qatar expressed “deep concern” following the strikes and called on “all parties to halt escalation” and “exercise maximum restraint”.

The gas-rich emirate, which has been engaged in weeks of talks with Israel and Hamas, urged the international community to “take urgent action to defuse the tension and de-escalate.”

Russia

Moscow expressed “extreme concern over the latest dangerous escalation in the region” and urged all sides to “show restraint”.

“We are counting on the regional states to solve the existing problems with political and diplomatic means,” the foreign ministry said.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi foreign ministry called on “all parties to exercise utmost restraint and spare the region and its peoples from the dangers of war”.

It urged the UN Security Council “to assume its responsibility towards maintaining international peace and security”.

South Africa

Pretoria, which has brought a lawsuit against Israel at the top UN court over its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, said it was “gravely concerned” over possible escalation of hostilities in the region. “South Africa has continuously stressed that irrespective of whether states believe that their use of force is lawful, it is never wise to resort to war as inevitably, it is ordinary people who bear the brunt of conflict”, its foreign ministry said in a statement.