High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell accused Israel of violating international law by cutting water, food and electricity to the Gaza Strip. He also stated that the vast majority of EU member states also reject the temporary freeze on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority while speaking with journalists on Tuesday.
He stressed that “only two or three” EU member states see the need to suspend financial aid to the Palestinians. Therefore, only a review of the aid is needed, not a temporary suspension of payments, he said, adding that the EU should speed up humanitarian aid to the victims of the tragedy.
Borrell also stated that some of the responses by Israel to the actions of Hamas amount to violations of international law, as Israel increasingly pounds the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including scores of children after over 900 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed — often in a brutal fashion — in a single day by Hamas.
After a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Muscat, Oman, Borrell told journalists: “Israel has the right to defend (itself) but it has to be done accordingly with international law, humanitarian law, and some decisions are contrary to international law.”
“Some of the actions – and the United Nations has already said that – (such) as cutting water, cutting electricity, cutting food to a mass of civilian people is against international law,” Borrell said.
The news of the reversal from the EU comes after the European Commission announced it was cutting funding to the Palestinian Authority. EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Olivér Várhelyi, who is from Hungary, had originally announced in a post on X on Monday afternoon that the European Commission is reviewing its development portfolio for the Palestinians and suspending payments related to it.
The European Commission issued an official press release on Monday evening announcing an urgent review of financial assistance to the Palestinians. The aim of the review was to ensure that EU funding does not “indirectly enable any terrorist organization to carry out attacks against Israel.”
Borrell said at a press conference on Tuesday evening that it would be a mistake to freeze aid to the Palestinian Authority, which would only help strengthen the radical Palestinian organization Hamas and worsen relations with the Arab world, according to a report for Hungarian news outlet Magyar Nemzet.
Gaza is currently facing a humanitarian crisis, with the Israeli military laying siege to the entire strip of 2.2 million people.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “total siege” on Gaza, saying: “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel. We are fighting human animals and we will act accordingly.”
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz also stated: “I ordered to immediately cut off the water supply from Israel to Gaza.”
Borrell stated that member states condemn violence, whoever commits it. While recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense, they call for humanitarian law to be respected and for the civilian population in Gaza not to be cut off from water and electricity supplies.
“They also call for humanitarian corridors to be guaranteed so that people fleeing bombardments can leave the area safely,” said the EU high representative.
He stressed that the EU distinguishes between the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The Palestinian Authority is a partner of the EU, he stated.