The Twenty-Seven met urgently this Tuesday to agree on a single voice in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. And the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, was clear in condemning Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip: “When you cut off electricity, water, access to food… it is clear that you are not respecting international law,” he assured. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, supported this statement, ensuring that “access to water is a basic human right.”
And, despite the fact that the European Union (EU) has expressed its full support for the Hebrew country, they remind it that not everything goes and that it must “respect international law” in its response to the Hamas terrorist attacks. The escalation of violence in the region is causing “a huge humanitarian crisis,” warned the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, after the leaders’ meeting, which took place by videoconference. Spain presides over the European Council during this semester and Sánchez stressed that “it is essential that the EU concentrates its efforts on addressing” this humanitarian crisis.
The European Commission announced last week that it will triple humanitarian aid to the Strip, up to 75 million euros. And, along these lines, Spain will also increase support for the Palestinian population, with an additional four million in aid. “In total, aid will reach 21 million by the end of the year, which represents 30% more humanitarian aid than in 2022,” he explained.
Michel and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, once again emphasized the joint statement issued by the EU. The Twenty-Seven reaffirm their “total solidarity” with Israel and the victims of Hamas attacks and call for the “immediate and unconditional” release of the hostages. In this sense, the President of the European Council explained that the Member States are trying to mediate to clarify the situation of the people captured by Hamas and to achieve their release.
Charles Michel | President of the European Council
«When water, food, electricity are cut off… it is clear that international law is not being respected»
Ursula von der Leyen | President of the European Commission
“Hamas attacks are bringing immense suffering to Palestinians. Helping them is not contradictory.”
Pedro Sánchez | President of the Spanish Government
“We must build the foundations of a lasting peace, which involves the recognition of Palestine as a state”
The bloc defends that Israel has the right to defend itself “in compliance with international law, particularly humanitarian law.” The bloc is concentrating its diplomatic efforts on reopening the border crossing with Egypt, from where the EU wants to deploy its humanitarian aid. Brussels announced on Monday that it will establish an air bridge to send this type of aid to the Strip and, this Tuesday, Von der Leyen confirmed that European Commission staff are on the ground to ensure that this aid reaches the Palestinian people. .
Von der Leyen assured that Hamas attacks “are bringing immense suffering to the Palestinians. It is clear that they are the terrorists, not the Palestinian people. Helping them is not contradictory to supporting Israel,” she noted. Community leaders reaffirmed that civilians “must be protected at all times” and Michel condemned the Israeli bombing of a Gaza hospital, in which hundreds of civilians died this Tuesday. “Attacks on civilian infrastructure are not in line with international law,” he concluded.
The stability of the region and preventing the conflict from escalating “is vital” for the security of the EU. “We must get involved to build the foundations of a lasting peace, which involves the two-state solution and the recognition of Palestine,” declared Spanish President Pedro Sánchez. Both Michel and Von der Leyen agreed that this path of dialogue is “the only solution” to resolve the conflict and end the violence.
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