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EU calls for Israel to explain Gaza offensive

By AFP

May 27, 2024 11:24 PM


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EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to call a meeting with Israel to get it to explain its actions in its Rafah offensive despite a UN court ruling, the bloc's top diplomat said.

"We got the necessary unanimity to call for an association council with Israel to discuss the situation in Gaza," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Israel has faced a wave of international condemnation over a strike that Gaza officials said killed 45 people when it set off a fire that tore through a tent city for displaced Palestinians.

Borrell called the strike "horrifying" and said "It proves that there is no safe place in Gaza".

He insisted that Israel should stop its attacks on Rafah after a ruling on Friday from the UN's International Court of Justice.

The meeting with Israel would be held under an association agreement with the EU. Spain and Ireland have called on the EU to review the agreement over Israel's Gaza offensive.

EU foreign ministers on Monday also held talks with counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar as part of a diplomatic push for a two-state solution after the Gaza war.

The push for a Palestinian state gained momentum last week when Ireland, Spain and Norway said they would recognise a Palestinian state from May 28.

But the move underscored divisions within the 27-nation EU, which has struggled to reach a unified position on the Gaza war.

One area where the EU could play a practical role after the war is the possible monitoring of the Rafah border crossing from Gaza to Egypt.

EU ministers are to discuss relaunching a mission suspended back in 2007 to monitor the crossing after calls from Israel and other states in the region.

Borrell said he had received preliminary approval from ministers to plan for the mission.

"This could play a useful role in supporting the entry of people into Gaza, in and out, but this has to be done in accordance with the Palestinian Authority," he said.

The Gaza war was sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages. Some 121 remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,050 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.


AFP


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