EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday suggested a plan under which Israel could suspend its military operation in Gaza in return for the Red Cross getting access to hostages held by Hamas.
“I think that a humanitarian pause counterbalanced by an access to hostages with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a first step to their release is an initiative in which we should work,” Josep Borrell told European Union diplomats in Brussels.
The EU, United States and Britain have been pushing for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza to ensured people in the besieged territory get help.
But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out any temporary truces until all hostages seized in Hamas’s October 7 attack are released.
“Call it a truce, window, whatever, but we need that violence recedes and that international humanitarian law is being respected,” Josep Borrell said.
Israeli forces pushed on with intense strikes targeting Palestinian operatives in Gaza on Monday as the war neared the one month mark and the Hamas-run health ministry’s death countl approached 10,000, mostly civilians, inside the besieged territory.
Determined to destroy Hamas, whose October 7 attack left 1,400 people, mostly civilians, dead in Israel and saw over 240 hostages taken, Netanyahu has vowed no letup despite mounting international calls for a ceasefire.
Josep Borrell warned that an “overreaction by the Israelis in the end makes them lose the support of the international community”.
“There is no military solution to the conflict,” Josep Borrell said.
“Even if Hamas is uprooted in Gaza, this will not solve the problem of Gaza.”
Josep Borrell said the attack by Hamas was an “inflection point in history” that would determine the future of the Middle East for decades.
“The unfolding tragedy in the Middle East is the outcome of a collective political and moral failure, which the Israeli and the Palestinian people are paying a high price for,” he said.
“This moral and political failure is due to our real lack of willingness to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem.”
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