EU leaders paper over differences after cacophony mars Israel-Hamas war response

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders struggled Tuesday to paper over variations as a cacophony of opinions and reactions marred the bloc’s response to the Israel-Hamas battle.

However they did declare to be united behind Israel’s proper to defend itself inside the bounds of worldwide regulation.

For the reason that Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, triggering the most recent Gaza battle, with over 4,000 useless on either side, France has banned on pro-Palestinian demonstrations and the variety of antisemitic acts has risen.

Germany has ramped up safety. It’s supplied navy assist to Israel and promised to crack down on help for Hamas at residence. Low-level rallies have been held in different EU nations. Each the 27-nation bloc and the US think about Hamas to be a terrorist group.

EU officers, in the meantime, have despatched combined messages about sending support to the Palestinians. The bloc is their greatest support donor and gives round 10 % of the Palestinian Authority’s finances, but it surely has little leverage over Israel. The EU has additionally been unclear about the place it stands on Israel’s siege of Gaza.

“We now have to information our actions round two rules: unity and consistency,” EU Council President Charles Michel informed reporters in Brussels after internet hosting an emergency leaders’ summit.

EU Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, who was criticized for visiting Israel final week with out consulting the member nations, stated: “Hamas terror is now bringing immense struggling to the Palestinian individuals. There isn’t a contradiction in standing with Israel in solidarity and appearing for the humanitarian wants for the Palestinians.”

The leaders instantly confronted the problem concerned when reviews got here in {that a} hospital in Gaza Metropolis had been hit by an explosion, killing a whole bunch. Hamas stated it was brought on by Israel. The Israeli navy denied involvement, saying it was a misfired Palestinian rocket.

Von der Leyen, who’s from Germany, 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 in keeping with worldwide regulation.” They each spoke simply earlier than Israel’s denial of involvement.

Over the past week, many member states have felt that von der Leyen overstepped her authority by visiting Israel on Friday with out a pre-agreed political message after which toed what critics referred to as an excessively pro-Israeli line.

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