The dual appeal of the European Union for the Middle East

The EU condemns Hamas’ use of hospitals as a shield. At the same time, she calls on Israel to show restraint in Gaza.

The European Union is sending a double message in the war between Israel and Hamas. On the one hand, it condemns the Palestinian Islamist movement which uses hospitals and the civilians present in these establishments as shields, on the other hand the EU calls on Israel to show maximum restraint.

“We call on Israel to exercise utmost restraint, in order to save civilian lives, we condemn Hamas’ use of people in hospitals as shields, but we also express our concern for the dire situation of hospitals which are heavily affected by the bombings”, says the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, at the opening of the meeting Monday in Brussels of 27 foreign ministers.

The Spanish official will also travel this week to the region: to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan to discuss humanitarian aid, but also a political solution to the conflict with the horizon a two-state solution.

According to Hamas, all hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip are now out of service because of the fuel blockade which prevents generators from operating, depriving establishments of electricity. For foreign ministers, the situation is worrying.

“We need to see what is happening in the hospitals in Gaza. These are not battlefields. We need to listen, in my opinion, to Doctors Without Borders, the leadership of the World Health Organization who say that people “, the patients who are in intensive care units have no chance. There is no more oxygen, there is no more water, there are no more medicines, so these people will die.” alarms the Luxembourg Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn.

But the 27 are divided. If the EU officially asks to put in place humanitarian pauses to allow aid to be delivered, certain member states such as Spain and Belgium want a ceasefire, but Germany does not want to go that far .

“I completely understand the impulse given in this terrible situation, where innocent children, people, women, mothers, families, not only suffer terribly, but also die. I understand the impulse in favor of “a ceasefire. But impulses are not enough to help people truly guarantee security and peace”, defends the head of German diplomacy Annalena Baerbock.

The European Union believes that all civilians should be able to leave combat zones. She also judges that humanitarian pauses must be able to be put in place immediately.

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