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EU's Hard Time Finding a Common Ground on Israel-Palestine Conflict

The West’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict witnesses no change; the two-state solution continues with the open support to Israel. However, European Union has a tough week regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict since the top officials have contradictory statements and actions. Contradictions are mainly on the decisions to aid Palestine and legal issues surrounding Israel's evacuation order to Southern Gaza.

It is likely that this chaos will come to an end tomorrow as the EU leaders will gather on a virtual summit, to discuss the developments in the Middle East. 


This past Tuesday in the virtual summit between the foreign ministers of the EU, High Representative Josep Borell stated that "Some of the actions [by Israel] — and the United Nations has already said it — cutting water, cutting electricity, cutting food to a mass of civilian people, is against international law." according to the press release. He stays as the only EU representative that articulated that Israel's misconduct in the Gaza Strip is clashing with international law. Countries such as Ireland, Denmark and Luxembourg independently called for compliance with the international law and fueled the divisive views on the issue. Moreover, this position also contradicts with the United States' position considering Biden is reluctant to blame any Israeli action.


On the other hand side, the EU Commission is also reluctant to refer international law and civilian causalties in Gaza. This began with the Commission's part that deals with neighbourhood. Oliver Varhelyi, the commissioner, announced about the suspension of all aid to Palestine on the same day with the foreign ministers meeting. This created confusion as to which part of the aid would be cut, as Palestine receives humanitarian as well as other development aids from the EU. Hours later, Josep Borell stated that the aid will not be suspended

This continued when the Commission Leader Von der Leyen and the Parliament President Roberta Metsole visited Israel last friday, had a clear message of solidarity with Israel and condemning Hamas terror, without any words concerning humanitarian issues and atrocities towards civilians. She is criticized for not inviting Israel to comply with the law. Also, an EU official's statement published on Euractiv shows the division between the instituions: “The [European] Commission’s trip to Israel was not coordinated and neither mandated by the European Council nor the EU member states”. 


Surprisingly, on Saturday afternoon, Von der Leyen announced that the EU's humanitarian aid will be tripled towards Palestine Authority. It is still a mystery as to what will happen to the rest of the developmental funds, over 600 million.


The commission building, in solidarity with Israel


While the Commission building, Parliement and a number of EU countries -including France and Germany- waved Israeli flag as a sign of solidarity, the Council building did not take such action.  

Tomorrow's emergency meeting will likely end this catastrophe as the EU leaders will hold a virtual emergency summit on the issue.

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Tags: #Gaza #Hamas #EU #vonderleyen #Israel-palestine


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