European Union and UK Avoid Cease-Fire Call as Israel’s Airstrikes on Gaza Continue: Over 6,500 Palestinians Killed

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The European Union and the United Kingdom’s Response to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

EU and UK’s Decision Not to Call for a Cease-Fire

The European Union and the United Kingdom avoided calling for a cease-fire as Israel continues to carry out its indiscriminate airstrikes, which killed over 6,500 Palestinians, half of whom are children, and destroyed hospitals, schools, refugee camps and more.

The European Commission’s lead spokesperson on foreign affairs, Peter Stano, justified this decision due to the ongoing “attacks” from the Palestinian group Hamas.

Stano reiterated the EU’s position and its support for Israel.

“Hamas keeps holding more than 200 hostages, most of them civilians. This is against any international law,” he added.

But, Stano stressed, “Civilians must be protected everywhere regardless of where they are, on which side they are.”

UK Prime Minister’s Stance

The British prime minister also failed again Wednesday to call for a cease-fire amid a dire humanitarian situation on the ground in the Gaza Strip.

Although asked numerous times by members of Parliament during the Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak avoided mentioning a “cease-fire,” while repeating the U.K.’s position of supporting “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Stuart McDonald, Scottish National Party (SNP) MP, urged Sunak to press Israel to restore the supply of basic services in Gaza and asked whether he joined the call for a cease-fire.

“It’s important that we do everything we can to get humanitarian aid to those who need it in Gaza, which is why on Monday we announced a doubling of our international aid to the region,” said the premier, without mentioning a humanitarian break that has been requested by many countries, including the U.S.

Later, Sunak was asked by the SNP deputy leader Mhairi Black: “How much worse does the situation have to get before he will join us in calls for a humanitarian cease-fire.”

The premier replied by reiterating that “Israel has the right to defend itself under international law” and the need for a safer environment “necessitates specific pauses, as distinct from a cease-fire.”

“We have also been consistently clear that everything must be done to protect civilians in line with international law and continue getting more aid flowing into Gaza,” he added.

Black pressed Sunak, noting the growing calls for a cease-fire from the international community and asked whether the premier agrees that joining calls for a cease-fire is now “the best and maybe the only way” to stop the conflict.

Sunak replied that Hamas is responsible for the conflict and that his government will continue to urge the Israelis to follow international law.

“How many more innocent Palestinians must die”

Defining the situation on the ground, Social Democratic and Labour Party MP Colum Eastwood asked a series of questions to the prime minister.

“When will the prime minister say enough is enough? When will he call for a cease-fire? When will he tell Israel to stop meting out collective punishment on the people of Gaza? And when will he and other world leaders insist on a political solution that involves a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people,” he asked.

Sunak said, without mentioning a cease-fire, that the U.K. has doubled down on its efforts to find “a better future for the Palestinian people.”

Labour Party MP Yasmin Qureshi read an email sent by one of her constituents who has a family in Gaza.

“My heart cannot handle this anymore. We are being massacred. Relentlessly bombed. Homes are being destroyed. No water, no food, no electricity,” it said.

Qureshi then asked Sunak: “How many more innocent Palestinians must die before this prime minister calls for a humanitarian cease-fire.”

Sunak said his government must also support the Palestinian people because they are victims of Hamas, too, adding that they mourn the loss of every innocent life.

Background on the Conflict

Israel has launched relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas into Israeli territory on Oct. 7. At least 1,400 Israelis were killed in the attack.

Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been running out of food, water, medicine and fuel, and aid convoys allowed into Gaza have carried a fraction of what is needed.


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