Na debate held in the European Parliament, in which the topics discussed at the European summit on 26 and 27 October were discussed, the president of the European Council focused in particular on the escalation of violence in the Middle East, triggered by the attack of unprecedented dimensions by Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to Israel, on October 7th.
But he also asked that “the geopolitical situation” not be forgotten and, in this context, argued that aid should continue to be provided to Ukraine, an issue that continues to be at the “center of concerns” of the EU.
“We can help the Middle East and, at the same time, provide aid to Ukraine. Therefore, I propose that we buy cereals from Ukraine, and then send these cereals to those who need them in the Middle East. It will be a strong sign of solidarity and efficiency”, he stressed.
Michel began by saying that “nothing can justify Hamas terrorism” and the more than 1,400 deaths, mostly civilians, and the more than 200 hostages taken by fighters from the Islamist movement on October 7th in Israeli territory.
“We can never allow these terrorist attacks to be repeated”, stressed the President of the European Council, adding that fighting Hamas – in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007 – will require “more than military attacks”, and that is needed ” a coalition” of international actors.
On the other hand, he reiterated that the EU defends Israel’s right to defend itself, but always respecting international law.
At the same time, he stated that “corridors to deliver humanitarian aid” are needed in the Middle East and that it is necessary to work towards “lasting peace” in the region.
He also stressed that Israelis and Palestinians “have the right to a stable future in peace” and that it is necessary to “think about what the future of this region could be.”
Therefore, he considered that the EU has “a responsibility to help”, through diplomatic efforts, to advance a plan “which must be based on a two-state solution”, which includes a “secure” Israel and a “Palestinian State that contains with a Government that thinks about the interests of its citizens”.
He also highlighted that the EU will continue to be a donor to the Palestinian Authority and recalled that the European community bloc wants to “organize a conference in favor of peace as soon as possible”.
In the same plenary session, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated that “although Israel has the right to fight Hamas, it is also essential that it strive to avoid civilian casualties, because every human life is important, whether Israeli or Palestinian.”
For Von der Leyen, it is essential that humanitarian aid, which the EU has increased in recent weeks to up to 100 million euros, reaches the Gaza Strip, which is why she said: “We are working on a maritime corridor from Cyprus. It would guarantee a flow of sustained, regulated and solid aid”.
In addition to the current tragedy, the head of the community executive called for an effort to “think about tomorrow”, with “a two-state solution”, based on “five principles for the next day”.
Firstly, he stated, “Gaza cannot be a safe haven for terrorists”; secondly, “the terrorist organization Hamas cannot control or govern in Gaza. There must be a single Palestinian authority and a Palestinian State”.
Third, Von der Leyen continued, “there will be no long-term Israeli security presence in Gaza, because Gaza is an essential part of any future Palestinian state and the territory of Gaza cannot be reduced or amputated in any way”; fourth, “there can be no forced displacement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip”; and, fifth, “there will be no continued embargo” by Israel on that poor Palestinian enclave.
Israel’s retaliation against the Gaza Strip began shortly after the October 7 attack, with cuts in food, water, electricity and fuel supplies and daily bombings, followed by a ground offensive that now has the city of Gaza under siege. .
The war between Israel and Hamas, which today entered its 33rd day and continues to threaten to spread throughout the Middle East region, has so far killed 10,569 people in the Gaza Strip, most of them civilians, including 4,324 children, plus 25,400 injured and around 1.5 million displaced, according to the most recent report from local authorities.
Read Also: Michel argues that the EU should lead a peace conference in the Middle East
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