EU drafting resolution urging Israel to pause airstrikes

Rival resolutions by the US and Russia in the UN Security Council regarding aid and the war fail to pass.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The European Union is seeking to unite its disparate countries in an official call Thursday to temporarily halt the Israeli airstrikes on Hamas in the Gaza Strip so that humanitarian aid can enter.

“The European Council expresses its gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses,” the draft text says.

It promises to “work closely with partners in the region” to ensure that aid such as food, water, medical care, fuel and shelter will get to civilians alone, and will not be “abused” by “terrorist organizations.”

Only one week into the war, EU President Ursula von der Leyen had announced that the European Commission would “immediately” triple humanitarian assistance for Gaza to over 75 million euros. It would work with the UN and its agencies, she said, to ensure that it reached “innocent civilians” in need.

The major international organization in the Gaza Strip is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), a group that both Israel and the former Trump administration condemned for teaching hatred of Jews and Israel to generations of students in its schools, and allowing Hamas to launch rockets from, and hide them under, their grounds.

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Even if the organization is not completely sympathetic to the Islamic extremists in charge of the coastal enclave, it is doubtful if it could prevent Hamas’ armed men from taking what they wish from any aid convoy that reaches the agency.

The word “pauses” was being used deliberately instead of “ceasefire,” diplomats explained, because all EU members must agree on the wording and some, led by Germany and the Czech Republic, do not want to tie Israel’s hands after strongly backing its right to destroy its enemy after Hamas invaded Gaza envelope villages and towns on October 7 and murdered 1,400 men, women, and children.

“If we call on a cease-fire, and Hamas will continue to throw rockets, we won’t be able to tell Israel [they] cannot defend themselves,” as one EU diplomat put it.

The Biden administration has also urged Jerusalem to allow more humanitarian aid to reach Gazan civilians, while defending Israel’s right to destroy Hamas.

The U.S. tried to pass a resolution Wednesday in the UN Security Council that affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense as well as calling for “humanitarian pauses” to enable the flow of aid to the coastal enclave. Russia and China vetoed it, as permanent council members are allowed to do, so it failed.

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Russia’s own resolution was vetoed by two other permanent members, the United States and Great Britain. It had condemned both the original Hamas attack and “indiscriminate attacks” on civilians in Gaza, and demanded an immediate “humanitarian cease-fire.”