The Israeli ambassador to the EU suggested on Thursday that the EU can have a greater impact in the Israel-Hamas conflict by emulating the actions of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“I was impressed by her display of bravery and leadership when she brought up the topic of providing humanitarian aid. She handled the situation appropriately,” stated Haim Regev.
While in Israel, von der Leyen received criticism from lawmakers and diplomats for not explicitly urging Israel to adhere to international law.
Regev commended von der Leyen for refraining from publicly voicing any negative remarks towards Israel and instead addressing them privately. He stated, “This is precisely how the EU should handle such matters.”
The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, has been openly critical of Israel. In a recent statement, he expressed concern that Israel’s actions in Gaza may have violated international law. On Thursday, the European Parliament urged for a temporary halt in hostilities to allow for the delivery of essential aid to Palestinians in Gaza, who are currently without access to water and electricity due to Israel’s actions. The Parliament also called on Israel to adhere to international laws concerning humanitarian aid. However, Israel’s spokesperson, Regev, countered these claims, stating that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that supplies will be brought in through Egypt.
According to the speaker, Israel is not requesting financial, medical, or military aid from the EU. Instead, they are simply asking for the EU to maintain their existing support.
Regev stated that if the EU wants to have a more significant involvement in mediation, they should not rely solely on the Americans. He emphasized the importance of understanding the EU’s stance and having ongoing communication with all parties involved, even if there are disagreements.
According to Regev, the main objective of Israel’s ongoing war is one-fold.
The speaker stated a need to end the ongoing conflict with Hamas and eradicate the group once and for all. They emphasized that the war is not directed towards the Palestinian people, but specifically against Hamas. According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health and Reuters, the Israeli airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of 3,785 Palestinians, including over 1,500 children. On October 7, Hamas fighters killed 1,400 Israelis and took 200 individuals hostage in Gaza, as reported by the Israeli government.
On Tuesday, a large explosion occurred at a crowded hospital in Gaza City, causing tensions and finger-pointing between the opposing parties as to who was at fault for the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians. The incident has sparked outrage and demonstrations in the Arab community.
The United Nations has requested an inquiry into the explosion at the hospital, but Regev stated that it is not the appropriate time for an international investigation. He explained, “We are currently in a state of war and it is not the time to initiate an international effort.” He also added, “We have evidence that points to their involvement…although we cannot disclose all of our information, we have attempted to present it.”
The ambassador presented to journalists an audio recording, which Israel claims was intercepted, of two Hamas militants discussing a rocket malfunction. Hamas argues that the explosion and casualties were the result of an Israeli attack.
At a press briefing on Thursday, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, urged for an urgent ceasefire to address humanitarian needs.