”The EU reiterates its call on Hamas for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. It is crucial that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is granted access to the hostages”
‘’We call on Hamas to immediately and unconditional release all hostages,’’ said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in a statement on Sunday.
He also condemned the use of hispitals and civilians as human shields. ‘’ We condemn the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas. Civilians must be allowed to leave the combat zone. Hostilities are severely impacting hospitals and taking a horrific toll on civilians.’’
He called on Israel to exercise “maximum restraint” to protect civilians in the ongoing war.
Borrell’s statement reiterated the EU’s position that Israel has “the right to defend itself in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law.’’
The EU also ‘’joins calls for immediate pauses in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors” in the Gaza Strip.
It also calls on Hamas to release the more than 240 hostages kidnapped by Hamas terrorists during the October 7 attacks and considers it “crucial” that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) be given “access to the hostages”.
Last week, in a speech to an international humanitarian conference for the civilian population of Gaza hosted by France in Paris, Eiropean Council President Charles Michel said that ”the European Council supports Israel’s right to defend itself, but it has been said by many, and I will say it forcefully: there can be no double standards. This means that the right to defend oneself must be exercised in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law.”
He added, ”Our common goal: a secure State of Israel, a State of Israel that has the right to security and existence, alongside a Palestinian State that is also able to offer more hope to its people.”
EU Foreign Ministers will again discuss the situation in Israel and the region at their meeting Monday in Brussels.