European Union to call for humanitarian corridors in Gaza

October 26, 2023

European Union leaders were set Thursday to call for humanitarian corridors in Gaza as well as airstrike pauses to allow aid to get through amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The call for the corridors and the fighting pause were on the docket as leaders from the EU’s 27 member nations were gathering for a summit in Brussels Thursday. 

Text that was intended to be the final draft for the declaration included EU leaders expressing their “gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

The text goes on to call for “continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses.”

EU leaders have been united in condemning Hamas’ massive October 7 surprise attack on Israel, though some disagreements have arisen amid balancing declarations of Israel’s right to exist alongside concerns about Palestinian civilians. 

Last week, the United States vetoed a U.N. resolution calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield demanded a more balanced text that condemns “the heinous terrorist attacks” by Hamas and reaffirms “Israel’s right to self-defense.”

The European Union’s text also included a vow by the organization to “work closely with partners in the region to protect civilians, provide assistance and facilitate access to food, water, medical care, fuel and shelter” while ensuring that such assistance “is not abused” by terrorist organizations.

Soon after Hamas’ October 7 attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a “complete seige” of Gaza, cutting off electricity, food, fuel and water in the territory, though on Thursday 12 more humanitarian aid trucks had reportedly rolled into Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing, bringing the total since they began rolling this past weekend to 74.

However, the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) warned on Tuesday that it might have to halt operations soon as it was running out of fuel.

As of Thursday morning, more than 7,000 Palestinians had been killed in the fighting, including more than 3,000 children, according to Palestinian officials. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed in the conflict, mostly civilians in Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack.

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