Borrell condemns “all attacks against civilians” but appeals to Israel’s right to defend itself

“We condemn all attacks against civilians and all means. These are the words of EU High Representative Josep Borrell from Oman, where he reached a common position with the Gulf countries to reject the Hamas attack on Israel. A diplomatic victory given that some of these states have ties to Hamas, an organization that the EU has designated as a terrorist organization for years and with which it has had no relations since 2007. Borel’s condemnation is “all attacks against civilians”. The message from Brussels last Saturday is that Israel has a “right to defend itself”.

“Israel has the right to defend itself today and in the coming days,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who showed her support by placing the country’s flag at the institution’s headquarters. A statement signed by the High Representative limited this right of self-defense to “violent and indiscriminate attacks under international law.” It’s a slogan echoed by all European Commission officials, but they refrain from commenting on the scale of the response from Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which has even bombed the buildings of the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA).

“We’re seeing the results of what Hamas started,” Foreign Minister Peter Stano said when asked specifically whether cutting off electricity or water supply would be against international law. Stano noted that “the attack continues” due to the presence of hostages.

Borrell demanded that basic services such as water and electricity be allowed, and called for the protection of civilians as well as the release of hostages. This is basically what appears in the joint statement signed with the Gulf Cooperation Council:

“The Council expressed its deep concern over the serious developments in Israel and Gaza and condemned all attacks against civilians. He called for the protection of civilians, reminding the parties of their obligations under the universal principles of international humanitarian law. In addition, he called for containment, the release of hostages and the provision of access to food, water and medicine in accordance with international humanitarian law, underscoring the urgent need for a political solution to the crisis to prevent a recurrence of this vicious cycle of violence. “The EU and GCC ministers are determined to discourage violence and call for restraint and calm on all sides, and agree to continue consultations and remain committed.”

Despite diplomatic contacts, especially with countries in the region, to end the hostilities, pessimism prevailed among the representatives of the European Union, who admit that the attack by Hamas will have a “negative impact” on the situation in Palestine and Israel. “The challenges were until Saturday [ha señalado Borrell sobre las relaciones con los países del Golfo] And they will stay,” he said about the “terrible crisis” for the Middle East and Gulf countries.

“The most important thing is to prevent the current crisis from spreading,” said Borrell, who has made several calls in recent days to prevent an escalation of violence at the regional level. “Our priority now is to stop the violence, protect the civilian population and release the prisoners,” the top official said this morning, admitting that the approach to the conflict was flawed: “What happened means that our way of resolving the issue of peace was not appropriate.”

Borrell immediately summoned EU foreign ministers to analyze the situation. Eli Cohen and Riyad Malki, the foreign ministers of the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, respectively, have been invited to participate in the meeting.

On the table will be a row over a review of Palestinian aid announced by the European Commission, which has sparked bitter protests from several European governments after Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelly announced an immediate freeze on payments. The community government has corrected its words and claims that it made the announcement without the approval of the College of Commissioners. However, the commission’s spokespeople initially accepted the decision by a representative of Viktor Orbán, who in the past blocked funds to Palestine on the grounds that the textbooks were anti-Semitic.

Von der Leyen avoided commenting on the row, which highlighted tensions within the 27 and the European Commission itself. After settling the debate and officially announcing that there would be no suspension of development aid but a review, Borrell warned that “suspension of payments – punishing the entire Palestinian population – would harm the EU’s interests in the region and “it would damage. It would only embolden the terrorists.” The Commissioner for Crisis Management has previously spoken out to make it clear that humanitarian aid will not be affected under any circumstances.

“The commission president is focused on the situation on the ground,” said his spokesman, Eric Mummer, who assured them they were not focused on “internal debates about who should announce what.”

Source: El Diario

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