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HAMAS-ISRAEL WAR

EU debates Gaza truce call, as top diplomat urges more aid


Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaks to the press after attending the International Peace Summit in Cairo on Oct. 21, 2023. (Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday urged faster aid deliveries to Gaza, and said the bloc was debating calling for a "humanitarian pause" in Israel's conflict with Hamas.

"What's important? More, quicker, and in particular to enter the basic things that make water and electricity supply being restored," Borrell said, ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers. 

Borrell said that the few dozen trucks of humanitarian aid that had been allowed into Gaza from Egypt was "not enough" and said fuel to produce power and drinking water was particularly needed. 

He said ministers would discuss calls from United Nations' Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a "humanitarian cease-fire" and the issue would be on the table at an EU leaders summit on Thursday. 

"Personally, I think that a humanitarian pause is needed in order to allow the humanitarian support to come in and be distributed, seeing that half of the population of Gaza has been moving from their houses," Borrell said. 

He said "the attacks of missiles, rockets from Hamas, from Gaza, has to stop and the hostages, people who have been kidnapped, have to be released." 

"It is part of any step towards de-escalation."

The 27-nation EU bloc has long been split over its policy on Israel and the Palestinians.

It has struggled with conflicting messaging since the surge in violence following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and Israel's reprisals against Gaza.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky cast doubt on the feasibility of achieving a temporary cease-fire with Hamas.

"There is a terrorist organization controlling Gaza, sending rockets every day, that perpetrated a barbarous attack on Israel territory," he said. 

"So the question is how such a cease-fire should be established, it needs to be established on both sides."

Hamas militants in Gaza stormed across the border into Israel on Oct. 7, launching a raid that killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day, according to Israeli officials.

They also seized more than 200 hostages in the worst-ever attack in Israel's history.

Israel has hit back with a relentless bombing campaign, which has so far killed more than 4,600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. 

Officials said the central town of Deir al-Balah had been particularly badly hit overnight Saturday to Sunday.


EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday urged faster aid deliveries to Gaza, and said the bloc was debating calling for a "humanitarian pause" in Israel's conflict with Hamas.

"What's important? More, quicker, and in particular to enter the basic things that make water and electricity supply being restored," Borrell said, ahead of a meeting of...