Home Europe EU FMs due to discuss political solutions to end Israel-Gaza conflict as violence surges on

EU FMs due to discuss political solutions to end Israel-Gaza conflict as violence surges on

by editor

European Union foreign ministers are meeting Tuesday to discuss how to use the 27-nation bloc’s political clout to help diplomatic efforts to end the fighting between the Israeli armed forces and Palestinian militants.

The EU has been united in its calls for a ceasefire and the need for a political solution to end the latest conflict – now in its second week – but the nations are divided over how best to help. No firm decisions involving threats of sanctions or other measures are likely from the ministers’ videoconference.

At least 212 Palestinians have been killed in heavy airstrikes so far, including 61 children, and over 1,400 people wounded, Gaza’s Health Ministry said. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, have been killed in rocket attacks launched from toward civilian areas in Israel.

Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes on what it said were militant targets in Gaza, leveling a six-story building in downtown Gaza City, and Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel early Tuesday, the latest in the fourth war between the two sides.

Israel is expecting the European Union’s foreign ministers to denounce Hamas when they meet on Tuesday.

The EU has called the weekend destruction of a building housing The Associated Press and other major international media “extremely worrying” and said safe working conditions for journalists were essential.

The bloc does not have as much influence in the region as Washington and no immediate breakthrough was expected from Tuesday’s meeting. Ever since the outbreak of violence last week, the EU has been calling for restraint and condemning attacks that hit civilian populations.

EU nations focus on ending violence

Individual member states also spoke out.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi stressed the “absolute need” to cease hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, the French presidency said. Macron reaffirmed France’s support to the Egyptian mediation in the conflict.

Rome also looked ahead to Tuesday’s meeting. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy had requested to discuss the Mideast violence and said “the violence and attacks between Israel and Palestine must stop.” In a Facebook post, he added that “the EU with its 27 member states must take a clear and unified position and work to press the parties to sit together again at the negotiation table.”

Because EU policy toward the region requires unanimity among the 27 EU member nations, its actions and statements haven’t had the impact that could be expected from a bloc of 450 million people that has large trade interests in the region.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European Council President Charles Michel both called over the past days to call for an end to the escalation in violence and ensure that civilians are protected.

Tuesday’s meeting is to seek “how best that EU can contribute to diffusing the tensions, stop the escalation and stop the ongoing violence,” EU spokesman Peter Stano said.

Pro-Palestinian critics of EU policy insist the bloc has been far too lenient when it comes to imposing sanctions on Jerusalem.

EU biggest donor of aid to Palestinians

The EU is the biggest donor of aid to the Palestinians but holds little influence over the militant group Hamas or the state of Israel, despite having some trade arrangements that are favorable to the Israelis.

European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said Tuesday’s meeting is aimed at working out “how best the EU can contribute to defusing the tensions, stop the escalation and stop the ongoing violence.”

Source link

Related Posts