Brussels, Oct 26 (EFE).- European Union leaders called Thursday for “humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs” so aid can reach the Gaza Strip, during the summit that began Thursday in Brussels.
“The European Council expresses its graveest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need,” reads the draft conclusions approved by the leaders.
The statement also “reiterates its condemnation in the strongest possible terms of Hamas” and “strongly emphasises Israel’s right to defend itself in line with international law and international humanitarian law.”
Countries such as Spain and Ireland wanted the statement to include a call for a cease-fire, but others such as Germany and Austria disagreed with this wording and from the outset favored calling for humanitarian pauses, which is what ended up being used.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said his country believed there should be “windows where humanitarian corridors are opened, where humanitarian aid is let in,” but that “all the fantasies of a cease-fire” only “make Hamas stronger.”
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, made it clear that “nobody is against humanitarian pauses” and that the debate is about “if you ask for a ceasefire, it means that Israel cannot defend itself.”
In this sense, a diplomatic source explained to EFE that “if anyone could understand that Europe is asking for a ceasefire, it would be a problem.”
The EU pledged to work with its partners in the region to protect civilians and to provide food, water, medical assistance, fuel and protection to the population, “ensuring that such assistance is nort abused by terrorist organisations.”
The leaders also called on Hamas to release all hostages taken in its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
European leaders stressed the need to prevent the war between Israel and Hamas from spilling over into other countries in the region, and pledged to maintain contacts with their partners, including the Palestinian Authority.
The summit’s conclusions state that “the European union is ready to contribute to reviving a political process on the basis of the two-state solution,” one Palestinian and the other Israeli, and that it supports the holding of an international peace conference “soon,” a proposal made by Spain.
A European source told EFE that the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, brought up a proposal to create an international coalition to fight Hamas, like the one created against the Islamic State, but indicated that it was not discussed in detail. EFE