Summit: EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

The cease-fire will lead to a sustainable ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages in the Gaza Strip and the provision of humanitarian aid, according to the statement adopted by the heads of state and government. The European Council was “appalled by the unprecedented loss of civilian life and the critical humanitarian situation”.

Hamas and “other armed groups” must provide “immediate humanitarian access to the remaining hostages,” which Austria has expressly demanded. Chancellor Karl Nehhammer (ÖVP) told reporters after the meeting. Austria is also still holding a hostage in the Gaza Strip.

Demand: No ground attack on Rafah

Israel has also been urged not to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, which would worsen an already dire humanitarian situation and prevent urgently needed basic humanitarian aid. About 1.5 million civilians currently live in the city – most of them refugees from other parts of the Gaza Strip.

APA/AFP/Samir Al-Doumi

A surprisingly quick deal in Brussels

The decision of the International Court of Justice on January 26 is also mentioned as the background of the request. It gave Israel a binding mandate under international law to do everything possible to prevent genocide in the Gaza Strip. All parties to the conflict must abide by international law, including international humanitarian law.

Austria wanted to identify rape more clearly

Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehhammer's (ÖVP) demand for a more explicit condemnation of the rape of Israeli women by Hamas militants has not been met. The results did not mention Hamas in relation to sexual violence, but did refer to UN reports indicating sexual violence in the October 7, 2023 attack.

However, reference was also made to the reports of UN Special Rapporteur Reem Alsalem. Among other things, she was involved in complaints about sexual violence by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian women.

Weeks of debate

The agreement of the Declaration was preceded by several weeks of discussions among the member states. First, reports on the Middle East conflict will be released at summit meetings in December and early February. But the states disagreed on one line.

Countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, in particular, consider it inappropriate to call on Israel to show great restraint after the October 7 massacre in Israel by Islamist Hamas. On the other hand, countries like Spain consider Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip contrary to international law and want a strong reaction from the European Union.

Nehamar: “Hamas is responsible for this tragedy”

There are many problems on the site and many civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip. But don't confuse the perpetrator and the victim: the attacker is always Hamas. “Hamas uses people, children and women as shields for their brutal business. The goal should be to destroy Hamas. Hamas can end the suffering immediately. I see it as Austria's responsibility to point out who is responsible for this tragedy, and that is Hamas,” the chancellor said.

The US wants to introduce a Security Council resolution

The UN put its draft resolution on an “immediate ceasefire” for the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip for a vote on Friday. The US wants to submit to the Security Council. “We will put this resolution to a vote on Friday morning,” Nate Evans, a spokesman for UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Thursday.

The US resolution would clearly support “ongoing diplomatic efforts” aimed at “achieving an immediate ceasefire as part of a hostage agreement in Gaza”. The US has called for an “immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip for the first time in the UN Security Council. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who visited Saudi Arabia, announced Wednesday evening that Washington was changing course.

“We have actually presented a resolution that is now before the Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire and the release of the hostages,” Blinken said in al-Hadat. He believes it will send a “strong signal”.

See also  Parliamentary elections in South Africa: ANC loses absolute majority

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *