EU foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell has stated that while Israel has the right to self-defense, some of the decisions made by its government are in violation of international humanitarian law. Borrell’s comments were made during a joint meeting of foreign ministers from the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council in Oman. Both blocs have condemned terrorist attacks by Hamas, but have also called for Israel to respect international law and ensure the delivery of essential supplies, such as food, water, and electricity, to the civilian population of Gaza.
In addition to urging Israel to adhere to international law, the EU and the GCC have requested the establishment of “humanitarian corridors” from Gaza to Egypt. This would allow civilians to leave the area before Israeli reprisal airstrikes take place. The aim is to minimize casualties and ensure the safety of innocent civilians caught in the conflict.
Borrell’s statement comes in response to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s recent announcement of a “complete siege” of Gaza, leading to no access to electricity, food, or fuel. Gallant justified this action by referring to those in Gaza as “human animals.” This decision has sparked widespread concern as it directly impacts the already dire humanitarian situation in the region.
The current escalation in violence began when Hamas sent commandos into Israeli territory, prompting retaliatory airstrikes by Israel. The clashes between the two sides have resulted in a devastating loss of life, with at least 900 Israelis and 830 Palestinians reported dead.
The EU’s response to the situation in Gaza has been multifold. Just before Gallant’s announcement of the siege, the EU declared it would review €691 million ($728.8 million) in aid to the Palestinian Authority and suspend pending payments. The reason cited for this decision was the perceived “scale of terror and brutality against Israel and its people” by Hamas. However, Borrell later clarified that the aid would continue, as suspending it would unfairly punish all Palestinian people and adversely affect EU interests in the region.
The international community’s concern for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza stems from the understanding that denying essential supplies, such as food, water, and electricity, to the civilian population is a violation of their fundamental rights. It is crucial for Israel and other parties involved to prioritize the safety and well-being of innocent civilians and ensure their access to basic necessities.
In light of the ongoing conflict, the EU and the GCC’s joint call for Israel to adhere to international law and establish humanitarian corridors demonstrates a commitment to the principles of justice, human rights, and humanitarianism. These efforts aim to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza and mitigate the impact of the conflict on innocent civilians.
As the situation continues to unfold, it is essential for all parties involved to prioritize dialogue and diplomatic solutions. Only through peaceful negotiations can a lasting resolution be achieved, ensuring the security and well-being of all individuals in the region.