Hamas attacks and the Israeli response: an explanation

European Union He was quickly condemned Hamas attacked “in the strongest possible terms.” The statement – issued on behalf of the 27 member states – said that such attacks “only serve to increase tensions on the ground and seriously undermine the aspirations of the Palestinian people for peace,” and added that Israel “has the right to defend itself in accordance with international law.” . In the face of such violent and indiscriminate attacks. In the days following the attacks, the Israeli flag was raised on landmarks across Europe, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and the European Commission building in Brussels.

Doriane Vanden Boer, a policy officer at the Catholic Social Justice Network CIDSE (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity) who works on Israeli/Palestinian policy in the EU, said that although the EU “has historically called for restraint when it comes to responding Israel did, we don’t see that now.” This time, the content of the statements was “more extreme because the situation is more extreme.” European Union President Ursula von der Leyen And President of the European Parliament Roberta Mizzola They said they supported Israel’s right to defend itself, but “did not mention Palestinian civilians in Gaza and their need for protection.” Vanden Boer said that these responses “give Israel the green light to do whatever it wants.”

The European response also included punitive measures against the Palestinians. On Sunday, Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, unilaterally announced that he intends Freezing aid to the Palestinians In response to the attack. The European Union is the largest donor to the Palestinians, providing $728 million annually. Separately, Germany said it would reconsider its financial support for the Palestinians, while Denmark and Sweden froze their development aid, and Austria suspended their funding completely. (Neither the European Union nor its member states send aid to Hamas; the Palestinian Authority is among its beneficiaries [PA]which governs parts of the West Bank in close coordination with Israel and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. [UNRWA]and other relief organizations.)

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A Varheli advertisement was drawn Opposition from member statesWhich prompted the European Commission to Retracting aid cuts on monday. Vanden Boer noted that Varhelyi has long called for funding to the Palestinians and UNRWA to be made conditional on removing anti-Israel content from Palestinian school books, and assumed he was “waiting a moment” to cut it off completely. “he [far-right Hungarian Prime Minister] “He is Viktor Orban’s man in Brussels, and his position is very much in line with the Israeli government,” Vanden Boer said. She also added that the European response shows that “the European Union is a biased actor that stands with Israel,” especially since “there has been almost no reaction to the genocidal rhetoric issued by officials in the Israeli government, army, and parliament.”

However, the rising Palestinian death toll in recent days has led to more moderate statements. On Tuesday, the European Union’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said urge “Protecting civilians,” “restraint,” and that the parties work to find a “political solution.” In the first direct criticism by a senior European Union official of Israel’s behavior since Saturday, he added, “Cutting off water, cutting off electricity, and cutting off food to a mass of civilian populations is contrary to international law.”

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