The European Union has urged Israel to refrain from using "excessive force" against unarmed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, calling for all parties to exercise restraint, the Safa news agency reported yesterday.
Joanne Adamson, charge d'affaires of the EU delegation to the UN, said that the "use of force taken must be proportional at all times."
She added: "Israel should reverse its punitive measures and work with the international community to ease conditions in Gaza, including opening movement and access for all humanitarian actors."
The situation in the Gaza Strip has been like a pressure cooker for some time and is on the verge of explosion.
The EU official strongly urged all relevant parties "to respect international law, de-escalate tensions, exercise restraint and prevent incidents that could jeopardise the lives of Palestinians and Israelis" in order to prevent the breakout of a new war.
"Serious efforts must be made towards a resumption of meaningful negotiations aimed at a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation and resolves all final status issues in order to end the conflict," she said.
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Meanwhile, she reiterated the EU's "strong opposition" to Israeli settlement policy and actions, including demolitions, confiscation, evictions and forced transfers.
"Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible," she said.
For his part, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council that this month witnessed "one of the largest escalations since the 2014 conflict."