Some Israeli actions ‘against international law’ – EU
Israel has the right to self-defense, but some of the decisions its government has made are contrary to international humanitarian law, EU foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.
“Israel has the right to defend, but it has to be done in accord with international humanitarian law. And some decisions are contra this international law,” Borrell said in Oman, where he attended the joint meeting of foreign ministers from the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Both the EU and the GCC have condemned terrorist attacks by Hamas, Borrell noted, but also condemned any attacks on civilians, demanded the immediate release of all hostages, and called for Israel to respect international law and not block the delivery of food, water or electricity to the civilian population of Gaza.
The two blocs have also asked Israel to open “humanitarian corridors” from Gaza to Egypt, so that civilians can leave the territory ahead of Israeli reprisal airstrikes.
Borrell’s remarks appeared to be a reference to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s statement on Monday ordering a “complete siege” of Gaza.
“There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed,” Gallant told the Israeli media. “We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly.”
Multiple media outlets also quoted Gallant as saying on Tuesday that he had “lifted all the restraints” on Israeli rules of engagement against Gaza.
Israel launched reprisal airstrikes against the Palestinian territory after Hamas, which controls much of Gaza, sent commandos deep into Israeli territory on Saturday. The three days of heavy clashes have resulted in at least 900 dead Israelis and at least 830 dead Palestinians, according to the authorities in West Jerusalem and Gaza, respectively.
Just before Gallant announced the “siege,” the EU declared it would put €691 million ($728.8 million) in aid to the Palestinian Authority under review and suspend all pending payments, citing the “scale of terror and brutality against Israel and its people” by Hamas. Borrell later “clarified” those remarks to note that aid will continue, because suspending it would amount to “punishing all the Palestinian people” and damage EU interests in the region.