NAIROBI – President William Ruto has said Kenya joins the rest of the world in solidarity with Israel, even as he said Nairobi “unequivocally condemns terrorism and attacks on innocent civilians in the country”.
” The people of Kenya and their government hereby express deepest sympathy and send condolences to the families of all victims. We also wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
“Kenya strongly maintains that there exists no justification whatsoever for terrorism, which constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security, “the President said in a statement on Sunday, as the war between Israel and Hamas escalated, killing at lease 250 people.
In an unprecedented escalation of conflict between Israel and Palestine, the Hamas militant group from Gaza launched air strikes on Israel while hundreds infiltrated the country and shot at civilians. Israel has declared a ‘state of war’.
Palestinian militants on Saturday fired more than 5,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Israel.
President Ruto said all acts of terrorism and violent extremism are abhorrent, criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of the perpetrator, or their motivations.
“The international community must mobilise to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers, sponsors, supporters and enablers of these reprehensible criminal acts of terrorism to account and speedily bring them to justice,” the President said.
Ruto is adding this voice to the condemnation of the attack by other regional and global leaders, including US President Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden on Saturday decried the “unconscionable” assault by Hamas militants and his administration pledged to ensure Israel has “what it needs to defend itself” after the surprise attack that drew worldwide condemnation and anger from Israel’s allies.
Biden said from the White House that he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US “stands with the people of Israel in the face of these terrorist assaults. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people, full stop. There’s never a justification for terrorist attacks and my administration’s support for Israeli’s security is rock solid and unwavering.’’
Israel’s security cabinet on Sunday said it had decided to destroy military, governmental capabilities of Hamas, even as Netanyahu warned civilians to leave Gaza.
Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for an immediate ceasefire and a peace plan “based on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
South Africa expresses its grave concern over recent devastating escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. South Africa calls for the immediate cessation of violence, restraint, and peace between Israel and Palestine.
On his part, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said the break out of renewed violence in Israel- Palestine is regrettable and posed, ” Why don’t the two sides implement the two States’ Solution?”
“To be condemned, in particular, is the practice of targeting civilians and non-combatants by the belligerents,” Museveni said in a brief statement on Saturday.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said the EU condemns in the strongest possible terms the multiple and indiscriminate attacks across Israel by Hamas and deeply deplores the loss of lives.
“We call for an immediate cessation of senseless attacks and violence, which will only further increase tensions on the ground &seriously undermine Palestinian people’s aspirations for peace. EU stands in solidarity with Israel which has the right to defend itself in line with international law, in the face of such violent and indiscriminate attacks,”he said.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs attributed the flare-up of violence and lack of peace and security in the region to the international silence over the occupation’s criminal practices, double standards and continuation of injustice and oppression directed towards the Palestinian people.
“The lack of solution for the Palestinian cause after 75 years of suffering and displacement, continuation of double standards policy, international community’s silence over the criminal and racial practices perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces and the persistent injustice and oppression are the primary reason behind the flare-up, as well as lack of peace and security in the region,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
President Ruto said Kenya calls for the de-escalation of violence and urges all parties to restrain from further military action, given its potential to intensify carnage and the suffering of innocent civilians, and to trigger heightened tension in the region and beyond.
“We are profoundly disturbed that civilians continue to be intentionally targeted in this conflict, as a consequence of which the number of casualties continues to rise. We therefore call on all parties to respect the rights of civilians and honour their obligations under international law,”‘ the President said.