The European Union (EU) has announced plans to establish a humanitarian air corridor to Gaza through Egypt in order to provide much-needed aid to Palestinians. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement during a summit of Balkan nations in Albania on Monday. She emphasized the urgent need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza and stated that the EU will be tripling its humanitarian aid to the region to a total of $79 million.
Von der Leyen stated that the first two flights of the EU humanitarian air bridge will take place later this week. She also expressed her concern for innocent Palestinians who have been affected by the ongoing conflict, emphasizing that they should not bear the consequences of Hamas’ actions. She referred to Hamas’ actions as “barbarism,” highlighting the need for assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.
The EU’s decision to establish a humanitarian air corridor to Gaza follows similar calls from Egypt and France for the uninhibited supply of aid and the safe passage of foreign nationals in the besieged enclave. These statements reflect the growing international concern for the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza.
However, the EU’s response to the crisis has faced criticism from some European lawmakers. They argue that the EU’s unconditional support for Israel undermines its commitment to international law and humanitarian principles. European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell clarified that EU policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is determined by member states, not the European Commission president. Borrell stressed the importance of Israel’s right to self-defense but also emphasized that it must be exercised within the bounds of international law.
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in significant casualties and extensive damage in Gaza. According to the Israeli air force, around 6,000 bombs have been dropped on Gaza in the first six days of the bombardment. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that at least 2,750 people have been killed, and another 9,700 injured in the military operation launched by the Israeli armed forces in retaliation for Hamas’ surprise attack on October 7. On the Israeli side, approximately 1,400 people have been killed, with thousands more injured.
The situation in Gaza has also led to a severe humanitarian crisis, with an estimated one million people displaced due to the destruction of infrastructure and ongoing missile attacks. The United Nations has expressed deep concern over the worsening humanitarian situation and called for immediate action to address the needs of the affected population.
In response to these developments, the EU’s humanitarian air corridor aims to provide essential aid to Gaza and support ongoing relief efforts. The establishment of this air bridge will ensure timely and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance, including medical supplies, food, and other essential items. The EU’s increased funding of $79 million will further strengthen these relief efforts and help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.
The EU’s proactive response to the crisis in Gaza demonstrates its commitment to addressing humanitarian challenges and supporting vulnerable populations. The establishment of the humanitarian air corridor and increased aid demonstrates solidarity with the Palestinian people and a determination to address their urgent needs. However, it is clear that a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still needed to prevent further suffering and instability in the region.