President Sauli Niinistö commented on the situation in Gaza on Monday evening after the Israeli army shot 41 protesters on the Israel-Gaza border. President Niinistö told Iltalehti that the situation is extremely serious and he is following the developments closely. He added that it is very important to refrain from all violence and use of force. The situation is delicate and the entire region is a like a powder keg.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini said the Finland is extremely concerned about the excessive use of force and the civilian casualties. Minister Soini said that Finland urges the parties to refrain from violence and to respect international justice and human rights, including the right to protest.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä condemned the violence in Gaza. Speaking to Savon Sanomat in Kuopio on Monday, Prime Minister Sipilä said that Finland condemns the violence and that the relocation of the US embassy had triggered the situation. Prime Minister Sipilä has discussed the matter with President Niinistö and Minister Soini. Mr Sipilä will participate in the summit of EU and Western Balkan leaders in Sofia, Bulgaria on Thursday.
Helsinki University Middle-Eastern Studies professor Hannu Juusola says that the US promise to mediate the conflict between Israel and Palestinians was a « dead concept » even before the US decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. All discussion about the peace process is very vague and it seems unlikely that there will be anything that Palestinians can accept. The diplomatic process is under US control and if they do not take an active role, it is unlikely that the two parties can make progress, Juusola says. A key factor is the reaction of Hamas to Monday’s violence. Juusola says that without a political solution, the cycle of violence and conflict will repeat itself.