His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah condemned Tuesday the Israeli occupation army’s “tragic escalation” against worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, describing them “inhumane.” His Highness the Amir reaffirmed Kuwait’s firm position against these “inhumane actions.” He called on the occupation authorities to cease these actions immediately and respect rights of the Palestinian people to exercise their rituals in Al-Quds.
The State of Kuwait, reiterated His Highness the Amir, stands by the Palestinian people and supports all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian cause, in order to enable the Palestinian people establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in line with UN resolutions and Arab peace initiative. The Kuwaiti Cabinet during its weekly meeting on Monday voiced its great condemnation and denouncement of Israel’s continued construction of settlements and the forced displacement of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah’s area. It stressed seriousness of continued building of settlements which run counter to international law principles and endanger international efforts aiming to reach a final solution to the Middle East conflict as well as destabilize the region. In this regard, the Cabinet welcomed the joint statement issued by Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain in which they called on Israel to suspend its decision on building further settlements and end settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank as well as halt the evacuation process in East Jerusalem mainly in Sheikh Jarrah district.
The Cabinet stressed the necessity of doubling international community’s efforts to force Israel to stop such unilateral decisions and create atmospheres to resume the peace talks. The Cabinet affirmed that Kuwait fully stands with Palestinian people and supports all international efforts seeking to reach a fair and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause, including the establishment of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the international legitimacy’s resolutions and the Arab peace initiative.
The ministers condemned the “terrorist” Afghan school blast that left dozens of people dead and wounded. Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza early Tuesday, hitting the high-rise home of a Hamas field commander and two border tunnels dug by militants, as Hamas and other armed groups fired dozens of rockets toward israel. The escalation in the conflict was sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem. Since sundown Monday when the crossborder attacks began, 24 Palestinians – including nine children – were killed in Gaza, most by airstrikes, Gaza health officials said. The Israeli military said 15 of the dead were militants. During the same period, Gaza militants fired more than 250 rockets toward Israel, injuring six Israeli civilians in a direct hit on an apartment building. In a further sign of rising tensions, israel signaled it is widening its military campaign. The military said it is sending troop reinforcements to the Gaza border and the defense minister ordered the mobilization of 5,000 reserve soldiers. In the past, cross-border fighting between Israel and Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, would typically end after a few days, often helped by behind-the-scenes mediation by Qatar, Egypt and others. It was not clear if such a resolution would come this time. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that fighting could “continue for some time.”
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an israeli military spokesman, told reporters Tuesday that the military was in “the early stages” of strikes against Gaza targets that it had planned well in advance. The overnight rockets and airstrikes were preceded by hours of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, including dramatic confrontations at Jerusalem’s Al- Aqsa Mosque compound, a sacred site to both Jews and Muslims. In fighting in the contested city and across the West Bank, more than 700 Palestinians were hurt, including nearly 500 who were treated at hospitals. In a sign of widening unrest, hundreds of residents of Arab communities across israel staged overnight demonstrations – denouncing the recent actions of Israeli security forces against Palestinians – in one of the largest protests by Palestinian citizens in israel in recent years. The escalation comes at a time of political limbo in Israel. Netanyahu has been acting as a caretaker prime minister since an inconclusive parliamentary election in March.
He tried and failed to form a coalition government with his hardline and ultra-Orthodox allies, and the task was handed to his political rivals last week. One of those rivals is israel’s defense minister who is overseeing the Gaza campaign. It is not clear if and to what extent the toxic political atmosphere is spilling over into military decision-making, though the rival camps have unanimously expressed support for striking Hamas hard. Israeli media have reported that the new round of violence is slowing efforts by Netanyahu’s rivals to form a ruling coalition among parties with a broad range of ideologies, but a shared goal of toppling Netanyahu. The support of an Arab-backed party with Islamist roots is key for the anti-Netanyahu bloc’s efforts. The party’s leader, Mansour Abbas, has essentially said he’ll work with whatever political camp offers the most improvements in Arab communities, but the current tensions might deter him from joining a coalition, at least for now.