Gaza became ‘graveyard’ for most important principles of humanitarian law: EU foreign policy chief

Gaza became a “graveyard” for the most important principles of humanitarian law, the EU foreign policy chief said Monday.

“Gaza was, before the war, the greatest open-air prison. Today it is the greatest open-air graveyard. A graveyard for tens of thousands of people, and also a graveyard for many of the most important principles of humanitarian law,” Josep Borrell told reporters at the doorstep of the EU foreign affairs meeting in Brussels.

The bloc’s foreign policy chief also said the ministers will discuss the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

“We are not talking about full suspension association agreement. This would be something for the commission to propose. We are talking about the political dimension based on the respect to humanitarian law,” Borrell explained.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, for her part, stressed the need for political will to solve the problem in the Middle East.

“Humanitarian aid cannot substitute political will,” she said.

Lahbib hailed the efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gazans but described them as “insufficient.”

“There must be full access by land routes,” the minister added, and expressed “frustration” that hundreds of trucks are waiting at the Egyptian border and cannot enter where the need is blatant.

Israel launched a destructive military campaign in Gaza in response to an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, which Tel Aviv said killed less than 1,200 people.

More than 31,700 Palestinians have since been killed, the majority of the 2.3 million population has been displaced and many are starving amid a worsening humanitarian catastrophe.

War in Ukraine

Borrell also expressed hope that the EU ministers would approve the Ukrainian Assistance Fund worth €5 billion ($5.45 billion).

“I hope that today the ministers will definitely approve that in order to increase our military support to Ukraine, which is very much needed,” Borrell noted, and announced that the EU will also adopt a package of sanctions following the killing of the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

On Feb. 16, the prison service announced the death of Navalny, saying the 47-year-old suddenly felt unwell after a walk in prison, where he was serving a term.

In August, he was handed a 19-year prison sentence on charges of extremism and other crimes. He was already serving a sentence of more than 11 years on fraud charges.

The bloc’s foreign ministers gathered for a council meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss the situation in Belarus and Ukraine, as well as the Middle East.

Borrell chairs the meeting, with the attendance of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken via videoconference for an informal exchange.

The ministers will also have an informal discussion with their Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba via videoconference.

(Source: Anadolu Agansi)