Creating new perspectives since 2009

Palestinians face increased violence in 'boiling' West Bank: EU foreign policy chief

February 18, 2024 at 1:15 pm

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in Munich, southern Germany on February 18, 2024 [TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Violence against Palestinians has increased since 7 October 2023 and the West Bank is “boiling,” EU’s foreign policy chief said Sunday.

Josep Borrell said at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that a comprehensive political solution, which includes “not only Gaza, but also the West Bank,” was needed.

“Yes, we have to end the war in Gaza, but nobody has talked a lot about the West Bank,” he said.

“And the West Bank is the real obstacle for the two-state solution. The West Bank is boiling. The level of violence against the Palestinians has been increasing since the 7th of October,” he added.

“It was already very high before that, and if now the UN agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has to stop supporting the Palestinian people in the West Bank, we could be on the eve of a greater explosion,” Borrell stressed.

He urged the bloc members to be more united in order to play a “geopolitical role” on the issue, as it has been the case regarding Ukraine.

“But here I see that there is a dispersion of approaches and many members states want to play their own game,” he said.

The US should be “more than on board,” he further said.

‘No peace in Middle East without clear prospect for Palestinian people’

Borrell also called for supporting the Arab initiative, adding that “without a clear prospect for the Palestinian people, it will not be peace in the Middle East, and the security of Israel will not be ensured just by military means.”

The bloc’s foreign policy chief also recalled that he recently issued a statement that strongly called on Israel “to avoid military actions against a highly densely populated area that is Rafah, where 1.7 million – almost 2 million people are being pushed against the wall.”

“Hamas is an idea and you don’t kill an idea. The only way to kill an idea is to propose a better one,” Borrell further said, and suggested that there must be efforts for Palestinians and Israelis to live “side by side in peace and common security.”

“This will not be reached only by military means,” he noted, stressing the need for “an overall political solution to the conflict.”

About 1.5 million Palestinians previously displaced by Israel’s offensive on Gaza are holed up in Rafah, seeking refuge from hostilities that have laid waste to wide swathes of Palestinian territory.

Israel’s reported plans for an offensive on the city have sounded international alarm bells, with countries urging restraint or the cancellation of the operation.

READ: WHO chief decries siege of Gaza hospital, urges immediate access for patients