The leaders of the unwavering Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, and Italy issued a joint statement expressing “steadfast and united support” for Israel and “unequivocal condemnation” of the Hamas militant organisation.
It comes after the Palestinian militant group launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza on Saturday, to which Israel responded with airstrikes and a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip.
The statement was released after a call between the UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak; the US president, Joe Biden; the French president, Emmanuel Macron; the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz; and the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. Together the five countries comprise the Quint international organisation.
“We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned,” the statement reads. “There is never any justification for terrorism.
“In recent days, the world has watched in horror as Hamas terrorists massacred families in their homes, slaughtered over 200 young people enjoying a music festival, and kidnapped elderly women, children, and entire families, who are now being held as hostages.
“Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities. We further emphasise that this is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage.”
Despite its condemnation of Hamas, the statement did make some concession to what it called the “legitimate aspirations” of the Palestinian people.
“All of us recognise the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. But make no mistake: Hamas does not represent those aspirations, and it offers nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed.”
Since the crisis began on Saturday, at least 900 people have been murdered in Israel, with over 650 killed in Gaza. According to Israel’s foreign ministry, Hamas has kidnapped more than 100 people.
In reaction to Hamas’s strike, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday, October 8, that he had ordered American naval forces, including an aircraft carrier, to maneuver closer to the eastern Mediterranean. However, the US stated on Monday that it has no intention of deploying military forces in response to the attacks on Israel.
Earlier on Monday, UK PM Sunak pledged to provide diplomatic, intelligence or security support to Israel if requested after he chaired an emergency Cobra meeting.