FOREIGN

EU Urges Israel Not To Cut ‘Water, Food, Electricity’ To Gaza

 

The European Union foreign ministers has urged Israel not to cut “water, food, or electricity” to Gaza.

EU also called for humanitarian corridors for those trying to flee the territory, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.

The representatives of the 27 EU countries held emergency talks after the surprise attack by Hamas and as Israel unleashed a reprisal bombing campaign of Gaza.

Fears of a regional conflagration have surged amid expectations of a looming Israeli ground incursion into Gaza, the crowded enclave from where Hamas launched its land, air and sea attack on Saturday.

The death toll in Israel has surged above 900 from the worst attack in the country’s 75-year history, while Gaza officials have reported 765 people killed so far, and Israel’s army said the bodies of roughly 1,500 militants had been found.

The European ministers insisted on the need for “respect of international humanitarian law and it means no blockage of water, food or electricity to the civil population in Gaza”, top diplomat Josep Borrell said, as quoted by AFP.

“Israel has the right to defend but it has to be done accordingly with international law, humanitarian law, and some decisions are contrary to this international law,” Borrell told journalists in Oman’s capital Muscat.

He said the EU meeting called for “humanitarian corridors to facilitate people who have to escape the bombing of Gaza” across the border to Egypt.

After mixed signals from Brussels over the future of its financial support, Borrell said an “overwhelming majority” of EU states oppose suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority.

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“Not all the Palestinian people are terrorists,” he said.

“A collective punishment against all Palestinians will be unfair, and unproductive. It will be against our interest and against the interest of peace.”

Borrell said that there will no be an increased need for humanitarian assistance for the Gaza.

“The fact is that at the moment the casualties in Gaza are also increasing, 150,000 people are internally displaced and the humanitarian situation is dire,” Borrell said.

“So we will have to support more, not less, more.”

Brussels had earlier rowed back comments from EU neighbourhood commissioner Oliver Varhelyi that the bloc was immediately suspending “all payments” to the Palestinians.

But the EU’s executive arm has launched an “urgent review” to see if any of the funds have indirectly gone towards funding Hamas.

Borrell said that neither the Israeli foreign minister nor his Palestinian counterpart took up an invitation to address the EU meeting.

 

By Okunade Kehinde 

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