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EU foreign-policy chief tells Israel ‘not to be consumed by rage’

"One horror does not justify another," said Josep Borrell after touring the devastated Kibbutz Be'eri.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (left) and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell visit Kibbutz Be'eri, Nov. 16, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (left) and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell visit Kibbutz Be'eri, Nov. 16, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Following a tour on Thursday of Kibbutz Be’eri, where Hamas terrorists butchered more than 100 people during their Oct. 7 assault on southwestern Israel, E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell implored Israelis “not to be consumed by rage.”

“Minister, allow me to say something that does not come from this piece of paper but from the bottom of my heart,” said Borrell, speaking at a press conference alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

“I understand your fears and pain. I understand your rage. I understand the fears and pain of the people that have been attacked, slaughtered, kidnapped. But let me ask you not to be consumed by rage,” he continued.

Borrell touched upon the situation in the Gaza Strip, where he claimed that “innocent civilians, including thousands of children, have died in the past weeks.”

“One horror does not justify another. … I think that is what the best friends of Israel can tell you,” declared the E.U. foreign policy chief.

The Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, does not distinguish between terrorists and civilian deaths. Both Israel and the United States have disputed the casualty figures coming out of Gaza.

Following the press briefing, Borrell took to X (formerly Twitter) to reiterate that “nothing justifies killing women, children, elderly people or abducting them from their homes.

“They need to be released immediately and unconditionally,” he stated.

Speaking in Hebrew at the press conference with Borrell, Cohen said that Israel would continue its operation against Hamas until the terrorist organization is destroyed and the approximately 240 hostages held in Gaza are freed.

“Today, I toured Kibbutz Be’eri with the minister of foreign affairs of the European Union,” Cohen wrote in a post on X, adding that “everyone who comes and hears the horror stories understands the need to eliminate Hamas.”

According to Cohen, Borrell during the visit expressed Brussels’s support for “the defeat of Hamas and Israel’s right to defend itself.”

In March, Israeli officials announced a formal boycott of Borrell over comments he made equating Palestinian terrorist attacks with operations undertaken by the Israel Defense Forces.

The E.U. official had written that “Israeli military operations frequently cause civilian Palestinian deaths, often without effective accountability; illegal settlements are expanding on occupied land; and the delicate status quo concerning Holy Sites is eroding.”

Cohen criticized the remarks at the time, telling Borrell, “There is no room for comparison or balancing between the victims of terrorism on the Israeli side and the Palestinian terrorists supported by the Palestinian Authority.”

However, Cohen patched up Israel’s relationship with the European Union two months later, following a meeting in Brussels. After a two-and-half-hour conversation with Borrell, Cohen boasted that “Israel is opening a new page in its relations with the E.U.”

Borrell has repeatedly called for a “humanitarian pause” in Israel’s ongoing operation against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

“I think that a humanitarian pause counterbalanced by access to hostages with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a first step to their release is an initiative on which we should work,” Borrell told fellow E.U. diplomats on Nov. 6, AFP reported.

“Call it a truce, window, whatever, but we need that violence recedes and that international humanitarian law is being respected,” he added.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is scheduled to visit Egypt and Jordan on Saturday, Brussels announced this week.

Von der Leyen will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo before traveling to the Egypt–Gaza border to welcome the arrival of European aid. She will then meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman.

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