EU leaders paper over differences after a cacophony mars their response to the Israel-Hamas war – FOX21 News Colorado

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, proper, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II arrive for a information convention after a gathering on the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Picture/Markus Schreiber)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders papered over their cacophony of various opinions and voices over the Israel-Hamas battle and professed a unity the place all acknowledge Israel’s proper to defend itself throughout the bounds of worldwide legislation.

“There is no such thing as a contradiction in standing with Israel in solidarity and performing for the humanitarian wants for the Palestinians,” mentioned EU Fee President Ursula von der Leyen on the finish of a video summit of the 27 EU leaders.

“We now have to information our actions round two rules: unity and consistency,” mentioned EU Council President Charles Michel, who hosted the emergency summit.

Leaders instantly confronted the problem concerned when stories got here in {that a} hospital in Gaza metropolis had been hit by an airstrike, killing a whole bunch of individuals and with Hamas saying it was fired by Israel. Nevertheless, the Israeli army quickly denied involvement within the strike, saying it was a misfired Palestinian rocket.

Von der Leyen mentioned she didn’t know sufficient concerning the incident to say whether or not it contravened worldwide legislation. In distinction, Michel mentioned an assault on civilian infrastructure would clearly be “not consistent with worldwide legislation.” They each spoke simply earlier than Israel’s denial of involvement.

Ever since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, the EU has proven it’s a group of 27 completely different nations and even its frequent establishments have despatched out completely different messages, sowing confusion concerning the bloc’s intentions and reaping worldwide criticism.

Many member states really feel that von der Leyen overstepped her authority by visiting Israel on Friday with no pre-agreed political message after which toed what many noticed as an excessively pro-Israeli line.

“Overseas and safety coverage stays a accountability of the member states,” EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell mentioned Tuesday.

Von der Leyen’s govt Fee maintains she is free to journey as she desires and categorical solidarity with a nation in want as she pleases, and can achieve this once more if want be.

Nonetheless, the unease was compounded as a result of, for some, an EU insistence that Israel respect worldwide legislation in its struggle in opposition to Hamas was not expressed explicitly sufficient by von der Leyen.

“The place is evident: Israel has the proper to protection, however this protection needs to be developed in compliance with worldwide legal guidelines and specifically humanitarian legal guidelines — as a result of battle additionally has its legal guidelines,” Borrell mentioned.

Few different worldwide crises divide the bloc just like the Israel-Palestinian battle.

Simply final week, within the wake of the Hamas assault, a commissioner on the bloc’s govt department introduced that growth support meant to assist the Palestinian Authority cut back poverty could be instantly suspended. Hours later, the European Fee’s place modified. It introduced an pressing overview of the help to make sure that no cash is being misused.

Since it’s listed by the EU as a terror group, Hamas doesn’t obtain any such funds anyway.

Then on Saturday, the fee mentioned it was tripling humanitarian support to Gaza — cash meant for use in instances of crises or disasters.

Michel mentioned the unity on the Israel-Hamas battle was important particularly since Russia was making an attempt to sow division amongst EU nations by exploiting the battle. Each he and von der Leyen dedicated to face by Ukraine, at the same time as a lot of the world focuses on the battle between Israel and Hamas.

“There may be one nation that advantages at the least not directly from a severe escalation of violence on this area, and that’s Russia. Russia will attempt, and is already beginning to attempt, to use this case to feed a story in opposition to the European Union,” Michel mentioned. “Let’s not fall into this entice.”

In Beijing, in the meantime, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held talks with Vladimir Putin in a uncommon in-person assembly for the Russian president with a frontrunner of any EU nation since he ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in February 2022.


Related Press writers Samuel Petrequin in Brussels, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed to this report.


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