Borrell calls for immediate cessation of Israel-Gaza violence

The EU has thus been prevented from taking a common position on the escalating Middle East conflict…reports Asian Lite News.

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, called on Tuesday for the “immediate cessation of all violence and implementation of a ceasefire” between Israel and Palestine.

At a press briefing after the EU foreign ministers’ video conference on the Middle East situation on Tuesday afternoon, Borrell cited a statement backed by 26 member states but blocked by Hungary’s veto as Budapest supports Israel, Xinhua reported.

The EU has thus been prevented from taking a common position on the escalating Middle East conflict.

“The purpose (of the call for a ceasefire) is to protect civilians and to give full humanitarian access in Gaza,” Borrell said. He added that the violence in the past few days has led to a high number of civilian casualties, including children and women.

“We condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups on the Israeli territory, and we fully support Israel’s right to defense, but we have also considered and stated that this has to be done in a proportionate manner and respecting international humanitarian law,” Borrell said.

He said that the security of Israel and Palestine requires a true political solution because only that could bring peace.

He called for reopening the political process, exploring reengagement between the conflicting parties, developing confidence-building measures and improving the living standard of the people in order to open a path towards a potential launching of the peace process, which has been in a stalemate for too long.

The United Nations’ casualty count from hostilities in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel has showed 256 people dead – including 69 children and an Israeli soldier – and thousands of people injured.

Thick-smoke-rises-above-buildings-in-Gaza-City-following-several-Israeli-airstrikes-amid-the-escalating-flare-up-of-Israeli-Palestinian-violence.-Photo-Mohammed-TalatenedpaIANS

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 219 Palestinians, including 63 children, were killed in Gaza. In the West Bank, 25 Palestinian deaths were tallied, including four children. Israeli sources reported 12 people killed, including two children and a soldier. Thousands of people are injured, mainly in the West Bank and in Gaza.

The hostilities shuttered six hospitals and nine primary healthcare centres in Gaza. Damage from a nearby airstrike halted Covid-19 testing at the Gaza Central Laboratory, the UN humanitarians reported. A non-governmental organization hospital stopped functioning because of fuel shortages.

Electric power in Gaza dropped, on average, to just three to four hours a day due to feeder line damage, OCHA said.

The World Food Programme reported giving out electronic vouchers to 74,000 people in Gaza as of Monday.

Humanitarian partners were assessing the damage to homes and prioritizing repair support.

Palestinian Territories, Gaza city: Fire billows from a building hit by an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip, amid the escalating flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence(Photo: Mahmoud Khattab/Quds Net News via ZUMA Wire/dpa/IANS)

The UN refugee agency for Palestinians, known as UNRWA, said it provides for the displaced in designated areas water, sanitation, hygiene services for the displaced and electric generators.

On Tuesday, the Israelis allowed several fuel trucks crossing through the Kerem Shalom to power electrical generators but held back additional humanitarian vehicles for security reasons.

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