The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said, “The current tragedy in Gaza is the outcome of a decade-long global political and moral failure, for which the Israeli and Palestinian are paying a high price.
In an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Borrell added that the international community has formally committed itself to the two-state solution without a roadmap to achieve it effectively.
He said the Abraham Accord led many to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be overlooked, adding that the war “dispelled that illusion. This time, we must finally end the vicious circle of violence.”
He said that the EU is urging Israel to exercise maximum restraint to minimise civilian casualties, avoiding bombing civilian facilities and stating that cutting off food, water, electricity and fuel to the besieged population of Gaza was “not acceptable.”
“We have quadrupled our humanitarian aid to Gaza to 100 million euros and organised an air bridge
to bring the most urgently needed products to Rafah, in Egypt,” he added.
On discrepancies amongst EU member states regarding the Israeli war on Gaza, Borrell said, “We are a Union of 27 different countries that have been at war with each other for centuries with rivers of blood and millions of dead, but now we live in peace for nearly eighty years,” adding that “the war must be the last one.”
He explained that the EU issued a call for an immediate halt to the Israeli war on Gaza, a call that the German Chancellor rejected.
He said the EU is “living proof” that it would be possible to make peace in the Middle East, including between Israel and Palestine. However, our 27 member states sometimes have different views on many issues because of their dissimilar histories, cultures and geographies. It is indeed also the case on some aspects of the current crisis in Gaza.”
He added that EU member states agree on the urgent need to put an end to the dramatic humanitarian situation of the civilian population in Ga
za and to restart a political process leading to a two-state solution.
On the EU’s failure to condemn Israel’s targeting of hospitals and UNRWA schools, Borrell said, “We need to improve our outreach on what we say and what we do,” adding, “the last statement of the 27 EU countries from 12 November says clearly that ‘international humanitarian law stipulates that hospitals, medical supplies and civilians inside hospitals must be protected.'”
He urged Israel to exercise restraint to ensure the protection of civilians, noting the incidents where Israeli warplanes struck a Jordanian field hospital and injured seven staff.
Regarding previous statements of Arab countries’ involvement in a post-war period in Gaza, Borrell said, “Unfortunately, it is not the case for the moment, but once the humanitarian situation will be finally consolidated in Gaza, we will indeed have to move to politics.”
“I presented to my interlocutors in Israel and Palestine and the Gulf some preliminary ideas regarding the possible futur
e of Gaza,” he added.
“We oppose the forced displacement of the population of Gaza to other countries, the amputation of its territory, its reoccupation by Israel or a return of Hamas to govern the enclave,” he explained.
He said, “We do not want a dissociation of Gaza from the overall Palestinian issue. It must be solved as a whole. We favour the return of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza under conditions set by a UN Security Council Resolution.
“However, the Palestinian Authority will need support for a transitory period. Therefore, we would encourage the involvement of Arab states trusted by the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.
“Achieving a lasting solution requires their commitment, and I am not talking here of financial commitment only. However, their involvement cannot be an end in itself. It must be a step on a clear path towards a Palestinian state.”
He added that there is a “need” for EU involvement to rebuild Gaza and help build a sovereign Palestinian state “capable of restoring the di
gnity of the Palestinians and of making peace with Israel.”
Borrell said the EU urged humanitarian pauses and corridors to evacuate wounded and sick people and foreign nationals, including opening additional crossing points. He added that the EU is considering a Cypriot proposal to establish a maritime corridor.
Over the last three years, the EU delivered close to pound 2.5 billion in grants, concessional loans and macro-financial assistance to Jordan in private sector development, education and health and the EU response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Borrell said, “Jordan can count on us to sustain our support at all levels – political, security, humanitarian aid and development.
Borrell noted that the Aqaba-Amman water conveyor is “vital” for Jordan’s future water security, adding that “it is the reason why it is a flagship project of EU-Jordan cooperation.”
He said, “During His Majesty King Abdullah’s visit to Brussels a few days ago, close to pound 100 million in grants have been signed to support
it. They will be combined with a pound 300 million loan from the European Investment Bank.”
“We have been supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan since 2011, and we will sustain this effort. The European Commission provides around pound 100 million a year for that purpose,” he explained.
“The war in Gaza has demonstrated once more the crucial role played by UNRWA in support of Palestinian refugees in Gaza, but also elsewhere in the region, and Jordan in particular. The EU supports financially and politically UNWRA and will continue to do so,” he added.
Source: Jordan News Agency