The rivalry between Palestinian groups has intensified, with Hamas defeating Fatah in the Gaza strip and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declaring a state of emergency. International observers have reacted with alarm to the escalating crisis.
Jan Egeland said Gaza was a "ticking time bomb"
MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN
The prospect of a Islamic extreme Gaza where the moderates have been routed, that's a dangerous eventuality.
We were dealing with Mr Abbas, moderate leader, and if his authority has now waned in Gaza that affects a whole series of issues.
We want to work with Palestinian moderates, but I think in looking at Gaza today we have to realistically understand that the moderates there appear to be playing defence.
MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, PALESTINIAN INFORMATION MINISTER
What is happening now is not only the collapse of the Palestinian national unity government but actually the collapse of the whole Palestinian Authority.
Either the two sides will agree again to find some kind of interim government and then appoint a new date for elections... or we will see chaos that will lead to the end of the Palestinian Authority.
JAN EGELAND, SPECIAL ADVISER TO UN SECRETARY GENERAL
This was predicted. This is the chronicle of an announced collapse. Last year I met in the Security Council and said 'Gaza is a ticking time bomb it may go... off in five or in ten months'. And it took about 10 months and then it went off.
This is the product of failed Palestinian policies, failed Israeli policies, failed international policy.
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
At this critical time [...] we affirm our call to all political forces in the Palestinian National Authority to show self-possession and good sense in order to halt the fratricidal conflict, in which there is not, and cannot, be a winner.
The way out of the current dramatic situation should be sought through political dialogue on the basis of the Mecca agreements and through the restoration of unity in Palestinian ranks.
We call on President Abbas, the legitimate president of all Palestinians, to do his utmost to resolve the situation through dialogue and to work towards national unity and reconciliation. We fully support President Abbas.
MARTIN JAEGAR, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN
The presidency of the European Union condemns in the strongest terms the violent seizure of power by Hamas militia in the Gaza Strip.
We condemn the killing of innocent civilians and legitimate security forces. We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian consequences and call on all sides to make the supply of aid to the Palestinian population in Gaza possible.
MARGARET BECKETT, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY
Once again, extremists carrying guns have prevented progress against the wishes of the majority who seek a peaceful two-state solution.
The current violence in Gaza and the West Bank remains deeply alarming and I again call on all parties to agree an immediate ceasefire, for the sake of the Palestinian people.
AL-RAYA NEWSPAPER QATAR
There will be no victor or vanquished in the infighting between Fatah and Hamas... All will be defeated, and only the flag of the Zionist entity will be fluttering.