France’s Foreign Minister together with her German and Italian counterparts have proposed the introduction of a new sanctions regime targeting Hamas, a terrorist organization that has long been designated as such by the EU. ”But we need to go further and allow for additional individual designations,” said Catherine Colonna.
Belgium has decided to take measures to ban from its territory ‘’violent Israeli settlers’’ in the West Bank, said Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib at a doorstep with reporters before Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council.
The situation in Gaza will top with the war in Ukraine the agenda of the EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels.
‘’But this measure to be effective, I am going to plead with the Foreign Affairs Council for a ban on violent settlers throughout the Schengen area,’’ the Belgian minister said.
‘’We are very concerned about the situation in the West bank. According to the UN coordination office, the situation there is extremely worrying. We used to have about 3 acts of violence a day. Today we have 7 acts of violence a day committed by violent extremist settlers,’’ Lahbib added.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said ‘’we are worried about the way Israel is carrying out its military operations in Gaza, with all too many civilian casualties and we are very concerned about the humanitarian situation, which is becoming truly critical.’’
‘’The urgent need now is for the unconditional release of all hostages, and a return to a long-term truce leading to a ceasefire,’’ she said.
She added, ‘’In addition to this, we must continue to work on security issues. You may have seen that myself and my German and Italian colleagues, Annalena Baerbock and Antonio Tajani, we have have proposed the introduction of a new sanctions regime targeting Hamas, a terrorist organization that has long been designated as such by the EU. But we need to go further and allow for additional individual designations.’’
‘’We are also concerned about the situation in the West Bank, in particular because of the too many cases of violence committed by extremist settlers. On this point, France is considering the adoption of national measures,’’ the French minister said.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has condemned violence from a small group of settlers. “There is, sadly, violence from extremists that we must condemn,” h told a press conference, last week hours after the United States announced it would impose visa bans against individuals involved in undermining peace, security or stability in the occupied West Bank.
“In a state of law, and Israel is a state of law, the right to use violence belongs only to those who are certified to do so by the government, in our case that’s the IDF [military], the Israeli police, the Shin Bet [security service], and such,” Gallant said.d.
U.S. announces visa bans over West Bank violence
The U.S. State Department will impose visa bans against individuals involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the occupied West Bank, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement announcing a new visa restriction policy.
The restrictions will target those who have committed acts of violence or taken other actions that restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities and may also apply to those individuals’ family members, Blinken said.
Aheadthe Foreign Affairs Council meeting, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said : ‘’ You knhat the European Union members of the UN Security Council voted in favour of the proposal of the Secretary-General [António Guterres], that was a good idea. Many of them co-sponsored the proposal from the United Arab Emirates. Unhappily, the United States vetoed this proposal so, it is not a call approved by the Security Council for a ceasefire. Everybody expects in the United Nations and now, this will go to the UN General Assembly.’’
Borrell noted that ‘’the bombing continues with an extraordinary intensity.’’ ‘’We have been saying in the G7 meetings and others that Israel should not use the same tactics in the south that they have been using in the north of Gaza. But it is the same, if not even worse,’’ he said.
The number of civilian casualties – innocent civilian casualties – continues increasing. The United Nations has described the situation, and
‘’We need the Member States to agree on some kind of request for – if a ceasefire is not possible, because it has not been approved by the Security Council – a series of pauses in order to make the humanitarian situation less awful. Thousands of people are being pushed against the border with Egypt and all the prospects are really, really bleak in Gaza,’’ he added.
He said he presented a ‘’position paper’’ to discuss ‘’what to do in Gaza once the attacks finish a,d what to do with Gazan people.’’ ‘’People continue saying that they should not be expelled from their land. But it is difficult to continue saying that when people are escaping from bombing and looking for shelters, but there are no more shelters in Gaza.’’