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EU condemns Israeli restrictions on entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza

March 2, 2024 at 2:32 pm

European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in Beirut, Lebanon on January 06, 2024 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]

The European Union has condemned restrictions imposed by Israel on the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Saturday, Anadolu reports.

In a statement, Josep Borrell recalled the recent Israeli attack on civilians in the besieged enclave, stressing it is “unjustifiable.”

Israeli forces on Thursday opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid in Gaza City, leaving at least 112 Palestinians dead and 760 injured.

“We request an impartial international investigation on this tragic event allowing for a clear picture of the events and responsibilities,” he said, urging Israel to comply with the rules of international law and to protect the distribution of humanitarian aid to civilian populations.

He said unabated fighting and disregard for international humanitarian law will lead to “complete chaos” making the distribution of humanitarian aid impossible.

“The responsibility for this incident lays on the restrictions imposed by the Israeli army and obstructions by violent extremist to the supply of humanitarian aid,” Borrell added.

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He urged Israel to “fully cooperate” with the UN agencies and other humanitarian actors involved in the humanitarian response and to allow free, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access through all crossing points.

“We condemn the restrictions imposed by Israel on the entry of humanitarian aid and on the opening of crossing points,” Borrell said, adding that the EU also urges Israel to remove immediately the obstacles at Kerem Shalom crossing, and open the access in the north at Karni and Erez crossings, to open the port of Ashdod to humanitarian aid and to allow a direct humanitarian corridor from Jordan.

“An immediate humanitarian pause, leading to a lasting ceasefire is urgently needed to enable the large-scale delivery of humanitarian aid and the protection of civilians in Gaza.”

More than 30,000 Palestinians have killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 incursion by Palestinian group Hamas. The campaign has also led to mass displacement, destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, and an interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Hamas: ‘International community failing to protect Gaza’s children from starvation’