Expressing concern about the situation in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip in recent days, Bulgaria has called for an end to hostilities by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, urged Israel to take strict steps to avoid civilian casualties and underlined a call for the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“We condemn the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip against cities and other civilian targets in southern Israel carried out by Hamas and other militant groups. Such actions constitute a violation of international law and are totally unacceptable,” Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov said in a November 15 2012 statement.
“Israeli citizens have the right to live safely and without fear for their lives. We call on Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza to stop the attacks immediately,” Mladenov said.
Israeli war planes slammed dozens of targets on November 15 in air raids against militants in the Gaza Strip, a day after an Israeli missile strike on Gaza killed the top military commander of Hamas, the Voice of America said.
Barrages of rockets were fired back at Israel from Gaza with one strike killing at least three Israelis in an apartment complex.
The Bulgarian Foreign Minister expressed his condolences to the families of victims among the civilian populations on both sides. “We call on those involved in the conflict not to jeopardise the lives of civilians, which leads only to innocent victims and further escalation of the crisis.”
Bulgaria supports the right of every country to defend its territory and its citizens, Mladenov said. In exercising this right, Israel should, however, take strict measures to avoid civilian casualties among the Palestinian population, he said.
Military actions are not in the interest of anyone, especially at a time when the region is so unstable, Mladenov said.
“The events of recent days and last night once again emphasise the need for the resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which is the only way to achieve a lasting and peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict in accordance with international principles and norms,” Mladenov said.