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Western nations urge Israel not to retaliate against Iran to prevent escalation

Israel partners it reserves the right to respond to Iranian aggression

French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Stéphane Séjourné, at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris, France, April 15, 2024 (Photo: REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier)

After successfully repelling the first direct Iranian attacks against its territory on Saturday night, several Western leaders have urged Israel to refrain from retaliating. 

In Israel, several ministers from both the coalition and the opposition have called for a response to the attacks. However, the War Cabinet meeting on Sunday night concluded without reaching a definitive decision on the method or timing of an Israeli retaliation.

Following the successful interception of the Iranian attacks, the United Kingdom and France contacted Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz. Both nations reportedly helped to defend Israel by intercepting missiles and drones fired from Iran and Yemen. 

According to Ynet News, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné contacted Katz to express continued support for Israel, while raising concerns of a potential retaliation. 

“What are your plans now? We are very concerned about a regional escalation that will affect the entire region,” Séjourné asked Katz, according to foreign ministry officials.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called Katz shortly after Séjourné, reportedly telling him: “Iran says that if you respond, their response will be greater. I think the smart thing would be not to react and prevent escalation. You have shown very clearly that Iran is the aggressor - as your friend, I ask that you not respond.” 

Katz is reported to have told both officials that Israel greatly appreciates their support and aid in countering the Iranian attack but that the decision of how to respond belongs to Israel. 

“Israel, like any country, has the right and obligation to defend its citizens. We live in a tough neighborhood, and in this neighborhood, it's not enough to be strong – everyone needs to know that you are strong,” Katz told them. 

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) also held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the Iranian attack. In the meeting, several diplomats urged restraint to prevent an escalation in the region. 

Israel, who asked for the emergency Security Council meeting, called on the group to impose “crippling” sanctions against Iran. 

“The fact that Israel’s air defense proved to be superior does not change the brutality of Iran’s attack,” Erdan told the council. “The mask is off. Iran, the No. 1 global sponsor of terror, has exposed its true face as the destabilizer of the region and the world.”

The Iranian ambassador responded that Iran’s actions were taken in “self-defense,” claiming that Iran “does not seek escalation or war in the region,” but that it would “respond to any such threat or aggressions vigorously and in accordance with international law.” 

Meanwhile, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has said that it would not support or participate in an Israeli retaliation against Iran. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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