update deskIsrael at War

EU: Must impose an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

"What we are learning now with the tragedy experienced in Gaza is that the solution must be imposed from outside,” saikd Josep Borrell.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell in Brussels, Oct. 7, 2019. Credit: European Parliament via Wikimedia Commons.
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell in Brussels, Oct. 7, 2019. Credit: European Parliament via Wikimedia Commons.

European Union foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell on Wednesday demanded the international community impose a “solution” to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

“What we have learned over the last 30 years, and what we are learning now with the tragedy experienced in Gaza, is that the solution must be imposed from outside,” Borrell said.

“Peace will only be achieved in a lasting manner if the international community gets involved intensely to achieve it and imposes a solution,” he added, referring to the United States, Europe and Arab countries.

Borrell also described Israel’s alleged targeted killing of Hamas arch-terrorist Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut on Tuesday night as “an additional factor that can cause an escalation of the conflict.”

In October, Borrell, the E.U.’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, slammed Jerusalem’s actions against Hamas and appeared to call for a ceasefire, leading to criticism from Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg for disregarding the wording of an E.U. statement from Oct. 26.

E.U. leaders had gathered in Brussels for a two-day meeting, during which they condemned Hamas in the strongest terms and called for “pauses for humanitarian needs.”

However, Borrell appeared to twist the statement’s wording into a condemnation of Israel, tweeting, “Far too many civilians, including children, have been killed. This is against International Humanitarian Law.”

The E.U. statement did not say that Israel had acted against international law, but rather that Israel had the right to defend itself in accordance with international law.

Borrell on Wednesday also called for a “pause of hostilities,” an apparent reference to a ceasefire, whereas the E.U. statement was less explicit.

Following a November tour of Kibbutz Be’eri, where Hamas terrorists murdered more than 100 people during their Oct. 7 assault on the northwestern Negev, Borrell implored Israelis “not to be consumed by rage.”

“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 said.

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,” he declared.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (left) and E.U. foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell visit Kibbutz Be’eri, Nov. 16, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Borrell became persona non grata in Israel in March, when officials signaled that he wasn’t welcome and that they would refuse to meet with him if he came for a visit following comments he made equating Palestinian terrorist attacks with operations undertaken by the Israel Defense Forces.

In an article that month, Borrell wrote that “violence on the part of Israeli settlers in the West Bank is increasingly threatening Palestinian lives and livelihoods—almost always with impunity.”

Borrel is a longtime critic of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

In 2019, while serving as Spain’s foreign minister, Borrell admitted having participated in an antisemitic attack as a child in the 1950s, according to Spain’s El Confidencial website. Armed with rattles and noisemakers, the European diplomat joined in shouts of “Kill Jews,” he told a Holocaust remembrance ceremony.

“When I remember it now, it is easier for me to understand Auschwitz,” he said.

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