Western Leaders Urge Adherence to Humanitarian Law Amid Israel–Hamas War

Western Leaders Urge Adherence to Humanitarian Law Amid Israel–Hamas War
People on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing watch as a convoy of lorries carrying humanitarian aid crosses to the Gaza Strip on Oct. 22, 2023. (Mohammed Assad/AFP via Getty Images)

International leaders have called on all sides to adhere to international humanitarian law as tensions in the Middle East intensify.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday spoke with his counterparts in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK regarding the ongoing war between the Israeli military and the Hamas terrorist group.

The leaders issued a joint statement following the talks, reiterating their support for Israel after Hamas launched a large-scale terrorist attack on Israeli properties and civilians on Oct. 7.

They called on all sides to uphold international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, amid concerns that the ongoing war could spill over into broader conflict across the Middle East.

The leaders pledged to work together, including with key regional partners “to prevent the conflict from spreading, preserve stability in the Middle East, and work toward a political solution and durable peace.”

They welcomed the arrival of the first humanitarian convoys in Gaza and pledged to maintain coordination with regional partners to ensure “sustained and safe access” for Palestinians to food, water, medical care, and other humanitarian aid.

In the statement, the leaders welcomed the release of two American hostages by Hamas and called for the immediate release of all the remaining hostages.

They also pledged to closely coordinate to support their citizens in the region, especially those wishing to leave Gaza.

NTD Photo
Trucks carrying aid arrive at the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 21, 2023. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Prior to the leaders’ statement, President Biden spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the situation in Gaza and the surrounding region.

Both leaders affirmed that “there will now be continued flow of this critical assistance into Gaza,” according to a readout issued by the White House.

The two leaders also discussed efforts to secure the release of all the remaining hostages taken by Hamas and to provide safe passage for U.S. citizens and other civilians in Gaza who wish to depart.

Israel Facing Escalating Attacks by Hezbollah

It comes as Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reserve Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus warned on Oct. 21 that the escalating attacks by the Iran-backed Hezbollah group on Israel risked dragging Lebanon into a war.

NTD Photo
An Israeli soldier walks on a Merkava tank at a position in an undisclosed location on the border with Lebanon on Oct. 22, 2023. (Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty Images)

Lt. Col. Conricus said that Hezbollah’s presence in the demilitarized zone to the south of the Litani River is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

“It should be stated and noted in the record that Israel has not been aggressing along the blue line, that we have been defending ourselves only, and that Hezbollah is the one that is aggressing. And of course, the state of Lebanon is responsible for everything that happens in its territory,” he said.

“Is the Lebanese state really willing to jeopardize what is left of Lebanese prosperity and Lebanese sovereignty for the sake of terrorists in Gaza, for the ISIS of Gaza? That is a question the Lebanese authorities need to ask themselves and answer.

“Because the way it’s looking now, Hezbollah is aggressing and dragging Lebanon into a war that it will gain nothing from but stands to lose a lot,” Lt. Col. Conricus added.

Lt. Col. Conricus said Israel had taken preventive measures following these attacks, including evacuating Israeli civilians along the northern border. The IDF had also urged Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate south.

“You see, there is a common denominator here: Israel caring first and foremost of our civilians and also caring about other civilians who we don’t want to be harmed in any way,” he added.

Stephen Katte contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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