Language matters a lot. Even more so if it is a “sensitive” matter such as the conflict between Israel and Hamas. With this argument, a source from the European Council explained the problems of the European Union (EU) in closing ranks and calling for an end to violence that allows humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip. Given Germany’s position, which defends Israel’s right to defend itself at all costs, the “ceasefire” demanded by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, seemed too ambitious. And, finally, the Twenty-Seven – meeting this Thursday in Brussels – have opted to ask for “humanitarian pauses” and the opening of “humanitarian corridors.” They also emphasize the importance of guaranteeing the safety of civilians.
The final text agreed by European leaders also includes EU support for holding a peace conference “soon”, an issue that Pedro Sánchez already raised over the weekend, at the summit held in El Cairo. This is, according to sources from the Spanish delegation, a “brave bet” by the community bloc in order to achieve lasting peace in the region, which will only be achieved through the two-state solution.
At his entrance, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, urged the member states to maintain unity when demanding a truce that allows access to water, food and fuel to the Strip. That unity, he said, is the “best argument” to demonstrate that the bloc does not have double standards in this conflict.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo demanded “unconditional” humanitarian access to Gaza. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda stressed that Israel’s response must avoid civilian casualties and be in line with International Law. The Italian leader, Giorgia Meloni, opted to provide immediate help and defended that the best instrument for peace is to give “a calendar to the Palestinian question.”
The agenda of the leaders’ summit also included tensions between Serbia and Kosovo, the crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the common migration policy. Regarding this last point, it is worth highlighting the turn taken by the European Commission and countries such as Sweden and Belgium following the recent attack that left two dead in Brussels. The attack, carried out by a Tunisian who had been residing illegally in the Belgian capital since 2016, has caused migration and security debates to go hand in hand and the European Union to consider reinforcing its borders.
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