This week, there has been mounting pressure on the European Union to play a more active role in seeking practical solutions to save lives in Gaza.
This pressure came as the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution urging a “humanitarian pause” in the region. Notably, this move followed the United States veto of a similar resolution at the UN Security Council, which sought humanitarian ceasefires to deliver critical aid to the millions of people in Gaza.
In the wake of these developments, ambassadors from Arab countries in the EU expressed strong dissatisfaction with the bloc’s perceived lack of decisive action and its failure to call for a comprehensive ceasefire.
At a press conference, Abdelrahim Alfarra, the Ambassador of the Palestinian Authority to the EU, emphasized the need for immediate and concerted efforts by the European Union to exert pressure on Israel, compelling it to halt the ongoing violence, attacks on civilians, including children and women, and the loss of life in Gaza.
Alfarra stressed the moral and principled obligations of the EU and its member states to maintain consistency with the foundational principles of the Union, pointing at the double standards. The ambassadors called upon European leaders to ensure a prompt end to the aggression against the Gaza Strip.
Criticism also emerged from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), deeming the European Parliament’s call for a humanitarian pause a “timid gesture” and urging a full ceasefire by all parties involved.
The European Union has also faced criticisms for its seemingly disjointed response to the conflict, marked by contradictory statements concerning the suspension of vital aid to Palestinian territories.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen came under scrutiny for her unwavering support for Israel and her hesitancy to call for the adherence to international humanitarian law.
Internationally, calls have been made for Egypt, located to the south of the Gaza Strip, to open humanitarian corridors to facilitate aid delivery to those fleeing the conflict. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have moved southward in response to Israel’s evacuation order for the northern part of the enclave in anticipation of a possible ground invasion.
The Egyptian ambassador to the EU refuted claims that Egypt had closed its passage to Gaza, explaining that the crossing from the Egyptian side had always been open, but the other part of the crossing had suffered multiple bombardments.
The European Commission announced plans to dispatch humanitarian supply flights for Gaza to the Egyptian border, with two flights scheduled for departure in the same week. Following an extraordinary meeting of EU leaders earlier in the week, von der Leyen affirmed that the Commission was working with Egyptian authorities to facilitate the entry of EU aid into Gaza.
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