Bulgarian Jewish community speaks out after more than 600 missiles launched against Israel from Gaza

Shalom, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria, has expressed deep concern about the escalating tensions in the West Bank, after more than 600 missiles have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

Three Israeli citizens have been killed and thousands of people in the region of Ashkelon have been unable to sleep in their homes following the attacks that began on Friday, when two Israeli military personnel were wounded by a sniper while patrolling the border with Gaza.

“We hope that the military actions will end soon and there will be a lasting peace on both sides of the border, and that the international community will work responsibly in this direction,” Shalom said.

“At this difficult time, we support our fellows in Israel and the right of the state to defend its citizens.”

In a message on Twitter, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said: “I am gravely concerned at the escalation of violence, the loss of life and the destruction, caused by the indiscriminate launch of rockets from the Gaza strip and the Israeli response. The launch of rockets from the Gaza strip should stop immediately”.

Nikolai Mladenov, UN Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and a former foreign minister of Bulgaria, said: “I condemn the continuing launching of rockets from Gaza. Enough Palestinian and Israeli lives have been lost, people injured, houses damaged and destroyed! It is time to de-escalate and return to the understandings of the past few months before it is too late”.

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) said on May 5 that terrorists in the Gaza Strip had fired some 600 rockets at Israel in the last two days, killing four people and wounding several others.

Israelis have been asked not to attend the funerals of the victims amid the dangerous escalation in the south. Israel has responded to the intensive barrage with retaliatory air strikes, resulting in the deaths of 16 Palestinians.

WIC President Ronald S. Lauder said in response to the attacks: “Hamas and its accomplices in the Gaza Strip have laid siege to the State of Israel, indiscriminately terrorizing its citizens and snuffing out innocent lives in an unprovoked attempt to destroy the Jewish state and subvert any efforts to live in peace and coexistence.”

“We call on the international community to face the murderous reality on the ground caused by Hamas and not be taken in by Hamas’ perverted bid to draw international sympathy for its own tyrannical cause and contemptuous disregard for human life.

“It is beyond time for the UN Security Council and the entire international community to unequivocally condemn Hamas in the strongest terms possible and hold it completely responsible for the loss of life and continued provocation in the territory under its control,” Lauder said. “Every second that passes without such condemnation gives Hamas carte blanche to persist with its cynical violence, threatening and exploiting the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians. This is terror, plain and simple, and must be not be tolerated or condoned in any way,” Lauder said.

In a statement on May 4, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “Indiscriminate rocket attacks from Palestinian militants in Gaza must stop immediately: the European Union reiterates its fundamental commitment to the security of Israel. We express our condolences to the family of all the victims and to the Israeli people, and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.

“These attacks provoke unspeakable suffering to the Israelis and serve only the cause of endless violence and of an endless conflict,” she said.

“A new escalation risks also to reverse the work to relieve the suffering of the people in Gaza who are already paying a high price with many victims that we mourn. And it puts in further danger the prospects for long-term solutions, which will require the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, credible security guarantees for Israel and a lifting of restrictions of access and movement.

“The European Union reiterates its full support to the push of Egypt and the United Nations to reduce tensions in Gaza and expect the parties to work with them to restore calm. Together with the international community, we will keep working to bring relief to all those suffering from this conflict and cooperating with those who serve the cause of peace,” Mogherini said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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