The European Parliament on Thursday called for a “permanent ceasefire” in Israel’s war against Hamas, but said a possible truce must be conditioned on the terror group’s dismantlement and the release of the 130-plus hostages still held captive in the Gaza Strip.
Resolution C9-0068, adopted with 312 votes in favor, 131 against and 72 abstentions, calls for “a permanent ceasefire and to restart efforts towards a political solution provided that all hostages are immediately and unconditionally released and the terrorist organization Hamas is dismantled.”
Israeli officials and diplomats hailed the resolution’s passage as a significant diplomatic win for the Jewish state.
“We are happy to see that the European Parliament understands the need to release the hostages and disarm Hamas before any ceasefire,” Haim Regev, Israel’s Ambassador to the E.U., told Politico.
“The European Union wants Israel to win this war against Hamas,” tweeted government spokesman Eylon Levy. “The European Parliament just demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages and dismantling of Hamas. It said no permanent ceasefire until then.”
Meanwhile, Adel Atieh, a Palestinian Authority representative in Brussels, denounced the vote as “a moral failure of the European Parliament.
“With this vote, Europe is losing credibility,” Atieh told Politico, while claiming there were “positive” aspects to the resolution as well—the text adopted by lawmakers denounces Israel’s military response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre as “disproportionate” and calls for measures against “extremist settlers,” in addition to expressing support for the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and UNRWA.
The European Parliament has little sway over Brussels’ foreign policy decision-making, and members of the 27-nation bloc have been deeply divided on the war against Hamas.
On Tuesday, the European Council, which represents the national governments of all E.U. member states, agreed to impose sanctions on Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, in response to the Oct. 7 attacks.
Effective immediately, Sinwar is “subject to the freezing of his funds and other financial assets in E.U. member states. It is also prohibited for E.U. operators to make funds and economic resources available to him,” an official statement from Brussels said.
Earlier this month, E.U. foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell demanded that the international community impose a “solution” to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians terrorists in Judea and 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.