The bloc insisted it remains committed to peace and a two-state solution amid mounting Palestinian casualties
The EU has condemned Hamas and ordered the militant group to release Israeli hostages without preconditions, affirming support for Israel’s right to self-defense within the confines of international law in a statement released by the European Council on Sunday.
Affirming the EU’s commitment to “a lasting and sustainable peace based on the two-state solution through reinvigorated efforts in the Middle East Peace Process,” the statement called for continued engagement with “legitimate Palestinian authorities” and their regional and international partners.
The Council members described humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza as critical for preventing further escalation of hostilities, while reiterating that there was “no justification for terror.” All civilians must be protected “at all times in line with International Humanitarian Law,” the statement read. The EU was “ready to continue supporting those civilians most in need in Gaza in coordination with partners,” so long as it could be ensured that such support was not “abused by terrorist organizations,” it said.
The European Commission on Monday pledged to “urgently review” development aid to the Palestinian territories to make sure none of the funds were being misused, walking back a statement issued less than six hours earlier by EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi that all aid to Palestine would “immediately” be suspended.
Immediately following Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel last Saturday, the EU declared that the bloc’s 27 member states stood “in solidarity with Israel which has the right to defend itself in line with international law, in the face of such violent and indiscriminate attacks.” Hamas’ activities would only threaten Palestinian hopes for peace, the statement claimed, notably omitting any mention of a two-state solution.
Israel subsequently launched the most intense bombing campaign against Gaza in the territory’s history, killing over 2,329 Palestinians, leveling entire neighborhoods, and displacing nearly half a million people as of Sunday.
An evacuation order issued by Israel Defense Forces for all 1.1 million inhabitants of northern Gaza on Thursday has been decried as aggravated ethnic cleansing by UN human rights experts, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the demand as tantamount to a second Nakba, referring to the forced removal of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and land by the newly-established Israel in 1947 and 1948.
October 16, 2023 at 01:00AM