The United Arab Emirates on Sunday condemned the deadly surprise Hamas attack against Israel as a “serious and grave escalation,” and said it was “appalled” that Israeli civilians had been taken from their homes as hostages.
The unequivocal statement by the Gulf state was significant because it was the first country to normalize relations with Israel as part of the landmark 2020 Abraham Accords which saw four Arab countries reach peace accords with the Jewish state.
The UAE Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Hamas’s attacks against Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza Strip, including the firing of thousands of rockets at population centers, constituted a “serious and grave escalation.”
“Civilians on both sides must always have full protection under international humanitarian law and must never be a target of conflict,” the statement continued.
About 130 people, including the elderly, women and children, were abducted by Hamas terrorists and taken hostage in Gaza.
Late Monday, Bahrain joined the UAE in condemning Hamas’s attack on Israel.
The foreign ministry in Manama says “attacks launched by Hamas constitute a dangerous escalation.”
“Bahrain denounces…. the kidnapping of civilians from their homes as hostages,” the statement says, calling for immediate efforts to stop the fighting.
An earlier statement from Bahrain on Saturday made no mention of Hamas and drew an equivalency between the two sides.
Other Arab countries, including those who have relations with Israel, have not directly condemned the lethal assault, which left at least 700 Israelis dead and more than 2,000 wounded.
Morocco voiced “deep concern” and condemned attacks on civilians “wherever they are.”
Egypt warned of “grave consequences,” and called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger,” while Turkey called for restraint “from all parties.”
Saudi Arabia, which has been in talks with the United States for months over a normalization deal with Israel, called for an “immediate cessation of violence.”
The Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah has said that the long-planned Hamas assault this weekend was a “message” to Saudi Arabia, which had been expected to announce a historic peace agreement with Israel in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was quoted by the official P.A. WAFA news agency as saying that the Palestinian people have a right to defend themselves against “the terror of settlers and occupation troops.”