EU walks back call to cut funding to Palestinians, triples aid instead

European Union announces humanitarian air corridor to Gaza, triples aid to Palestinians after initially vowing to freeze funding.

By JNS

The European Union announced on Monday that it would launch a humanitarian air corridor to Gaza through Egypt, with the first flights expected this week.

“Palestinians in Gaza are in need of humanitarian help and aid. That is why… we are launching an E.U. humanitarian air bridge to Gaza through Egypt. The first two flights will start this week,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday in Albania while attending a Balkan summit.

The decision follows a E.U. declaration on Sunday that it was tripling humanitarian aid to Gaza to 75 million euros (approx. $79 million), backtracking from an announcement in the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that it was putting all of its development funding to the Palestinian territories on hold.

Israel praised the decision at the time.

European Council President Charles Michel told press on Saturday that he would convene a video conference of European leaders on Oct. 17 to discuss the unfolding events in Gaza.

While the European Union expressed “full solidarity” with the Israeli people after the “brutal terrorist attacks,” Michel said, “It is of utmost importance that the European Council, in line with the treaties and our values, sets our common position and establishes a clear unified course of action that reflects the complexity of the unfolding situation.”

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The Hamas attack cost the lives of more than 1,400 Israelis and left more than 4,200 wounded. The terror group kidnapped at least 199 Israelis, some of them children with special needs and others with ongoing medical conditions.

Israel Beiteinu Party chairman Avigdor Liberman on Monday called on the government to make humanitarian aid to Gaza contingent upon Red Cross access to the hostages.

Liberman demanded “that they don’t get one crumb, that one liter of water won’t be transferred until the Red Cross sees our abductees.”

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, which has brought together families with abducted or missing members and thousands of volunteers, detailed the medical conditions of some of the hostages in a letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Many of the abducted and missing civilians are in life-threatening conditions and in urgent need of treatment and life saving medication for injuries,” wrote forum medical team head Dr. Hagai Levine.

“Based on initial and partial intake from their families, many of them need immediate humanitarian intervention due to their medical condition.”