Greece’s Foreign Affairs Ministry expressed its deep concern over the rising violence in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and called for “the immediate end.”
For more than a week, Palestinians have protested throughout Jerusalem over attempts to evict Palestinian families from their homes.
Violent clashes escalated dramatically on Monday with Gaza health officials saying at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed by Israeli air strikes launched after Palestinian militant groups fired rockets close to Jerusalem.
“At the same time, recognising Israel’s right to self-defence, we reiterate the need for all parties to take action that will lead to immediate de-escalation. Steps must also be taken to avoid further casualties among the civilian population,” said the ministry.
Into the early hours of Wednesday morning, Gazans reported their homes shaking and the sky lighting up with Israeli attacks, outgoing rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Israeli air defence missiles intercepting them.
“Greece, as it has stressed in the past regarding the Middle East Peace Process, emphasises that resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution is a prerequisite for overall peace and stability in the region,” it concluded.
The United Nations Security Council is set to hold a second emergency meeting on the deteriorating situation.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just made the following speech in front of the Knesset:
To Ismail Haniya, and the leaders and operatives of Hamas.
We, the people of Israel, owe you a huge debt of gratitude. You have succeeded where we have failed. Because never before, in the history of the modern State of Israel, has the Jewish people been so united, like one person with one heart. Everyone in Israel, from Left to Right, secular and religious, in united in the knowledge that there is no accommodating an enemy that is sworn to the genocide of our people.
And now, as you continue to launch deadly missiles indiscriminately, intended to maim and murder as many civilians as possible, while you take cowardly refuge behind your own civilians – you continue to inspire us to hold strongly onto our unity. Whatever disputes we Jews may have with each other, we now know that we have one common goal: we will defeat you.
But we are offering you now one last chance. Within 24 hours, all rocket fire – and I mean all rocket fire – will cease. Completely. Forever.
I give you formal notice that our tanks are massed at the Gaza border, with artillery and air support at the ready. We have already dropped leaflets over the northern parts of the Gaza strip, warning civilians of our impending arrival, and that they should evacuate southward, forthwith. If you fail to meet our ultimatum, we are coming in, and, with God’s help, this time we will not leave. Every centimeter of land that we conquer will be annexed to Israel, so that there will never be another attack launched at our civilians from there.
Even so, we will continue to keep the door open to allow you to surrender gracefully. The moment you announce that you are laying down arms, we will halt our advance, and there we will draw our new borders. If you continue to attack our citizens, we will continue to roll southwards, driving you out of territory that you will never again contaminate with your evil presence.
It pains me deeply that your civilians will be made homeless. But we did not choose this war; you did. And if our choice is between allowing our citizens to be targeted mercilessly by your genocidal savagery, versus turning your civilians into refugees, I regret that we must choose the latter. If only you loved your people as much as you hate ours, this war would never have happened.
To the rest of the world: Israel has tired of your ceaseless chidings that we should “show restraint”. When you have your entire population under constant missile fire from an implacable enemy whose stated goal is the murder of every man, woman and child in your land, then you may come and talk to us about “restraint”. Until then, we respectfully suggest that you keep your double standards to yourselves. This time, Hamas has gone too far, and we will do whatever we have to in order to protect our population.
Hamas, once again, I thank you for bringing our people together with such clarity of mind and unity of purpose. The people of Israel do not fear the long road ahead. Am Yisrael Chai.