U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday condemned the rocket fire from Gaza onto Israel while meeting with opposition leader Tzipi Livni in New York. Clinton said Israel has the right to defend itself. Livni thanked Clinton, saying “the international community must speaking out clearly, in one voice, against terror against the citizens of Israel’s South.”
Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, maintained neutrality in her statement Saturday:
“The EU is following with concern the recent escalation of violence in Gaza and in the south of Israel. I very much deplore the loss of civilian life. It is essential to avoid further escalation and I urge all sides to re-establish calm.”
The spokesman for UN Special Envoy for the Peace Process Robert Serry expressed concern Saturday about the situation between Gaza and Israel.
“We’re very concerned about this latest escalation,” Richard Miron told Bethlehem-based Ma’an News. “We call on both sides to exercise maximum restraint, and we deplore the fact that civilians are paying the price for this violence.”
He added: “This proves that the situation in Gaza is very fragile and very unsustainable.”
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), also asked both sides to show restraint but blamed Israel for the escalation. He called on the terrorists in Gaza to avoid any further escalation that he said could jeopardize efforts to renew peace talks.
The Iron Dome system intercepted two long range rockets that were fired at Ashkelon. Magen David Adom in Ashkelon treated two people: one suffered from emotional shock and the second was slightly hurt when fleeing for cover when a siren sounded.
By Gil Ronen