עזה לאחר תקיפות צה"ל
Aftermath of Israeli strikes on Raffah in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday
Photo: AFP
Aftermath of Israeli strikes on Raffah in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday

Divisions curb EU peacemaking role in Israel-Gaza violence

Joint statements after Tuesday video meeting unlikely to produce any new policies as diplomats claim call was slow in coming, drawing criticism for a lack of a Western response from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and some member states

Reuters |
Published: 05.18.21 , 14:29
The European Union is set to call for a ceasefire in fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas at an emergency video meeting on Tuesday, but divisions over the Middle East will marginalize the bloc's role, diplomats said.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter


  • U.S. President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire during a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell convened a video call of the EU's 27 foreign ministers from 1200 GMT.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    עזה לאחר תקיפות צה"ל
    עזה לאחר תקיפות צה"ל
    Aftermath of Israeli strikes on Raffah in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday
    (Photo: AFP)
    "We have reached out to partners to see how we can defuse and contribute to stopping this very dangerous and worrying escalation of violence," said Borrell's spokesman, Peter Stano, referring to the fiercest hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians in years.
    The EU is Israel's biggest trade partner and a big aid donor to the Palestinians but has been reluctant to use such leverage or discuss possible economic sanctions on Israel's government.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    פגיעה ישירה בבניין באשדוד, הרס ונזק רבים
    פגיעה ישירה בבניין באשדוד, הרס ונזק רבים
    Building suffers a direct hit in Ashdod from rockets fired from Gaza on Monday
    (Photo: AFP)
    The EU has long played a back seat to the United States in Middle East peace negotiations and has had limited influence in the region.
    Preparations for joint statements in the EU are divisive and Tuesday's meeting is unlikely to produce any new policies.
    Diplomats said even organizing the video call was slow, drawing criticism for a lack of a Western response from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
    At least eight smaller EU states, led by Luxembourg and including Belgium, Ireland, Malta and Finland, are vocal defenders of the Palestinians. They say the EU must do more to support Palestinians in their drive for statehood.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    עזה לאחר תקיפות צה"ל
    עזה לאחר תקיפות צה"ל
    Damage inflicted on Gaza City after Israeli raids earlier this week
    (Photo: AFP)
    "Amid the sound of bombs, Europe keeps quiet," Simon Moutquin, a Belgian Green lawmaker, wrote on Facebook. Other Belgian lawmakers have called for sanctions on Israel.
    Other countries, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, Greece, Cyprus and Poland, are ready to defend Israel's interests. Austria flew an Israeli flag over the federal chancellery in Vienna on Friday.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    דגל ישראל על גג משרד קנצלר אוסטריה סבסטיאן קורץ
    דגל ישראל על גג משרד קנצלר אוסטריה סבסטיאן קורץ
    An Israeli flag on top of the office of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in support of Israel after coming under rocket attack from Gaza
    (Photo: AFP)
    Europe's most powerful nation, Germany, is unwilling to discuss coercive measures against Israel.
    French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he would work with Egypt's president and Jordan's king on a concrete proposal for a ceasefire and a possible path to discussions between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Talkbacks for this article 0