The “terrible” Hamas attack on the Jewish state does not justify the “horror” imposed on civilians in Gaza, Josep Borrell has said
Israel must take all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties as it continues its aerial and ground attacks in Gaza against the Palestinian armed group Hamas, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has said.
In an interview with Spanish daily El Pais on Monday, Borrell – who admitted to being “a bit pro-Palestinian” – reiterated that while he condemns Hamas’ attack on Israel, “one horror does not justify another horror,” referring to the relentless bombing of the enclave.
The EU top diplomat said he had reminded Israeli officials that “war has its rules” and “the bombings have to take into account the casualties they are causing,” telling them that the humanitarian situation in Gaza has been abhorrent. In the aftermath of the Hamas attack, Israel announced a “complete siege” of the enclave, with only a handful of humanitarian aid trucks allowed to enter from neighboring Egypt.
Meanwhile, Borrell expressed uncertainty regarding Israeli claims that the powerful strikes on buildings in Gaza were meant to destroy hidden underground tunnels built by Hamas. “They are, they aren’t, I personally don’t know. They suspect they are,” he told the paper.
Hamas officials have on numerous occasions confirmed that they have a sprawling network of tunnels in Gaza, believed to extend as far as Egypt, and said that it is aimed at confronting the Israeli “occupation.”
Borrell also stressed that the conflict between Israel and Palestine “cannot be solved with the mass exodus of more than two million” people from Gaza, and that only a political solution has a chance of succeeding. “If Israel wants to build peace, it cannot sow more hatred now,” he added, noting that the outcome of the conflict depends in large part on whether the two sides are able to negotiate the release of more than 240 hostages held by Hamas.
Since the start of hostilities on October 7, the EU has acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense and backed calls for a humanitarian pause. However, some European countries – as well as the United States, which is Israel’s main backer – have been reluctant to urge both sides to agree to a ceasefire, citing concerns about whether such an agreement would guarantee the country’s security in the future.