The European Union (EU) has strongly condemned Hamas and demanded the immediate release of Israeli hostages without any preconditions. In a statement released by the European Council on Sunday, the EU affirmed its support for Israel’s right to self-defense within the boundaries of international law.
The statement reiterated the EU’s commitment to achieving a lasting and sustainable peace based on a two-state solution. It called for renewed efforts in the Middle East Peace Process and continued engagement with legitimate Palestinian authorities and their regional and international partners.
The EU emphasized the critical importance of providing humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza as a means to prevent further escalation of hostilities. It also stressed that there is no justification for terrorism, and all civilians must be protected at all times in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.
Acknowledging the need to support civilians most in need in Gaza, the EU expressed its readiness to provide assistance in coordination with its partners. However, it emphasized that such support should not be abused by terrorist organizations.
Following Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel, the EU expressed solidarity with Israel, stating that it has the right to defend itself in accordance with international law. The statement emphasized that Hamas’ activities only serve to undermine Palestinian hopes for peace.
In response to the situation, the European Commission announced on Monday that it would conduct an urgent review of development aid to the Palestinian territories to ensure that the funds are not being misused. This decision came after EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi initially stated that all aid to Palestine would be immediately suspended.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) issued an evacuation order for all 1.1 million inhabitants of northern Gaza, which has been met with criticism from UN human rights experts who referred to it as aggravated ethnic cleansing. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the demand, comparing it to the forced removal of Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba.
The Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza in response to Hamas’ attack has resulted in a significant number of casualties, with over 2,329 Palestinians killed as of Sunday. Entire neighborhoods have been leveled, and nearly half a million people have been displaced.
The EU’s condemnation of Hamas and support for Israel’s right to self-defense within international law reflects its commitment to peace and a two-state solution. However, the EU also emphasizes the importance of protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance to those in need. The ongoing situation in Gaza highlights the urgent need for renewed efforts in the peace process and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU stands ready to continue its support for peace and stability in the region.