EU Council chief raises alarm about fresh migrant wave
European Council President Charles Michel has called for an “extraordinary” meeting of its members, to address the escalating conflict in the Middle East, following Hamas’ attack on Israel, and to assess the impact it may have on the European Union’s security.
“This conflict has many consequences, including for us in the European Union,” Michel wrote in a letter published on the council’s website on Saturday, further explaining that the Israeli-Palestinian tensions have the potential to “exacerbate tensions between communities and feed extremism” in Europe.
There is “a major risk” that the ongoing violence will trigger mass migration to the neighboring countries, and “if not handled carefully, there is a risk of onward migratory waves to Europe,” Michel warned, inviting the members of the European Council to hold a video conference on October 17.
While condemning Hamas for its “brutal terrorist attacks” against Israel last week, and calling for an immediate release of all hostages, Michel acknowledged that “tragic scenes” in Gaza resulting from the siege and heavy bombardment are “raising alarm bells in the international community.”
“Israel has the right to defend itself in full compliance with international law, in particular international humanitarian law,” he insisted, stressing the importance of the EU role in facilitating peace in the region. “We should never lose sight of the importance of seeking a lasting and sustainable peace based on a two-state solution through reinvigorated efforts in the Middle East Peace Process.”
Following the unprecedented raid by Hamas last week that claimed the lives of over 1,400 civilians and soldiers, Israel has declared war on the militant group and unleashed an intense bombing campaign on Gaza.
More than 2,329 Palestinians have been killed in retaliatory strikes, with hundreds of thousands being displaced following Israel's evacuation order, according to the United Nations Human Rights commission. UN human rights experts warned that the Palestinians are on the brink of “mass ethnic cleansing” and called on the international community to mediate an immediate ceasefire.