less than a day after the new round of conflict between Israel and Hamas, Qatar, Iran, and even Saudi Arabia, that is said to be on the path of normalization of relations with Israel, all blamed Tel Aviv for the war.
This Saturday, and a few hours after the war between Hamas and Israel broke out, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran issued separate statements and all blamed Israel for its escalating conflict with Hamas.
It was in the early hours of Saturday that the Palestinian militant group launched a mass attack on Israeli forces and settlements, killing at least 250 people in Israel and 232 in Gaza, according to Israeli local media and the Palestinian government.
In retaliation, Israeli air forces carried out deadly airstrikes against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank the same day. Health officials in the Gaza Strip say at least 198 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli air attacks, with more than 1,600 wounded.
“Dozens of IDF fighter jets are currently striking a number of targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military said on Saturday.
To flee the airstrikes, hundreds of residents left their homes in eastern Gaza. Men, women and children were seen carrying blankets and food as they fled, mostly in the northeastern part of the Palestinian territory.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the conflict a “war” in a public address early Saturday but vowed that Israel will come out as winner.
Saudi Arabia’s stance, a huge frustration for Netanyahu ‘s normalization efforts
While the US and several European countries quickly rebuked the attack and expressed their full support for Israel, Qatar, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the three powerful Middle Eastern states blamed Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. A top official from the Iranian government praised Hamas and said it was a direct result of Israel’s growing violence against Palestinians in the recent months.
“We congratulate the Palestinian fighters,” Iran’s advisor to the Supreme Leader, Yahya Rahim Safavi said, according to Iranian state media. “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem,” he further noted.
Iran state media also showed videos from inside Iran’s parliament, where Iranian officials were chanting in support of Hamas on Saturday, saying “Death to Israel” and “Palestine is victorious, Israel will be destroyed”.
Likewise, the Qatari Foreign Ministry blamed Israel for the violence. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds Israel alone responsible for the current escalation due to the ongoing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, the latest of which is the repeated raids on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque under of the protection of Israeli police,” the ministry said in a statement Saturday evening.
What was a big frustration for Netanyahu and his latest efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia was that alongside Iran and Qatar, the Kingdom took the Palestinian side.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is closely following the developments of the unprecedented situation between a number of Palestinian factions and the Israeli occupation forces, which has resulted in a high level of violence on several fronts there,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the explosion of the situation as a result of the continued occupation, and deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, and the repetition of systematic provocations against its sanctities,” the statement also noted.