EU condemns Israeli assault on Gaza, urges protection of civilian lives

EU ministers, led by top diplomat Josep Borrell, express alarm over Israel’s assault on Rafah in Gaza, stressing the urgent need to protect civilian lives amidst escalating tensions and potential humanitarian crises.

European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has issued a stern warning, stating that there is no safe zone for Palestinian civilians in Gaza to flee to amidst escalating tensions. With approximately 600,000 children residing in the densely populated enclave, Borrell emphasized the urgency of protecting civilian lives.

Borrell addressed EU development ministers, highlighting the collective efforts of the European Union and the United States in urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refrain from launching an assault on Rafah. Despite these warnings, Israel initiated attacks on Monday night, raising concerns of significant civilian casualties.

EU ministers expressed deep alarm over the Israeli military offensive in Rafah, with Belgium’s development minister, Caroline Gennez, asserting that such an assault would cross a “red line” and potentially lead to famine for millions. She called for considering sanctions as a response, emphasizing the disregard for international law in Gaza.

Germany’s development minister, Jochen Flasbarth, echoed the sentiment, describing the humanitarian situation in Gaza as appalling and emphasizing the need for urgent action. However, he indicated that discussions on potential sanctions were not on the agenda for the meeting.

The EU ministers expressed support for UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, amidst ongoing challenges. In April, a UN investigation found no evidence substantiating Israel’s allegations against UNRWA employees.

The EU Council, representing 27 member countries, issued a statement addressing humanitarian aid concerns, emphasizing the need to protect affected populations and ensure access to essential services. The statement underscored the discrepancy between funding for protection and the actual needs of affected populations, highlighting the urgency of addressing humanitarian crises in Gaza.