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

European Union leaders have papered over their cacophony of various opinions over the Israel-Hamas warfare at a summit

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders papered over their cacophony of various opinions and voices over the Israel-Hamas warfare and professed a unity the place all acknowledge Israel’s proper to defend itself inside the bounds of worldwide regulation.

“There isn’t any contradiction in standing with Israel in solidarity and appearing for the humanitarian wants for the Palestinians,” stated EU Fee President Ursula von der Leyen on the finish of a video summit of the 27 EU leaders.

“We’ve got to information our actions round two rules: unity and consistency,” stated EU Council President Charles Michel, who hosted the emergency summit.

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

Von der Leyen stated she didn’t know sufficient in regards to the incident to say whether or not it contravened worldwide regulation. In distinction, Michel stated an assault on civilian infrastructure would clearly be “not according to worldwide regulation.” 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 totally different nations and even its widespread establishments have despatched out totally different messages, sowing confusion in regards to 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.

“International and safety coverage stays a duty of the member states,” EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell stated Tuesday.

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

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

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

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 government department introduced that improvement assist meant to assist the Palestinian Authority scale 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 stated it was tripling humanitarian assist to Gaza — cash meant for use in instances of crises or disasters.

“There may be one nation that advantages no less than not directly from a critical escalation of violence on this area, and that’s Russia. Russia will attempt, and is already beginning to attempt, to take advantage of this example to feed a story towards the European Union,” Michel stated. “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 pacesetter of any EU nation since he ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in February 2022.

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

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