EU Emergency Virtual Summit: Addressing Middle East Crisis

European Council President Charles Michel has convened a video conference summit of European Union leaders to discuss the Hamas attacks on Israelis and Israel’s response. Michel stated that the bloc stands in solidarity with Israel and that Israel has the right to defend itself in compliance with international law.

The siege of the Gaza Strip raised alarm bells in the international community, prompting Michel to convene a meeting. He emphasized the importance of the European Council setting a common position and establishing a clear unified course of action. Michel emphasized the EU’s role as an advocate for peace and respect for international law and avoiding regional escalation. The conflict could potentially feed extremism in EU societies and prompt migration to neighboring countries.

The European Commission has tripled its humanitarian assistance for Gaza to €75 million and will work with United Nations agencies to ensure the aid reaches those in need. The European Union has decided to maintain aid to Palestinians, following a report that the European Commission is reviewing all its development aid worth 691 million euros. The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) has appealed for nearly $294 million to help 1.3 million people in Gaza and the West Bank, with nearly half for food aid.

Israeli troops are preparing for a ground assault on Hamas-controlled Gaza, and Iran warns of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel’s bombardment is not stopped. Israel has vowed to annihilate the militant group Hamas in retaliation for a rampage that killed men, women, and children and seized hostages. Gaza authorities have reported over 2,200 deaths in Israeli air strikes, with a quarter of them children, and nearly 10,000 wounded. The UN warns of a potential spillover if Israel’s war crimes and genocide are not halted immediately, as both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh met with Iran’s foreign minister in Qatar to discuss the Palestinian group’s attack on Israel and agreed to continue cooperation. US President Joe Biden and other world leaders warned against any country broadening the conflict, while international organizations and aid groups urged calm and pressed Israel to allow humanitarian assistance.

Russia asked the UN Security Council to vote on a draft resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire and condemning violence against civilians and acts of terrorism. Biden called Netanyahu and discussed international coordination to ensure civilians have access to water, food, and medical care. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed the urgent need for humanitarian aid corridors in Gaza. The US Department of Defense announced the Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike group would move towards the Eastern Mediterranean to join another carrier strike group.

EUEU Emergency Virtual Summit: Addressing Middle East CrisisEuropean CouncilEuropean UnionMiddle East Crisis