European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday reiterated her strongly pro-Israeli stance despite growing criticism from within her own staff, while also harshly criticizing Iran for seeking to sow “violence and chaos” in the Middle East.
Last week, around 800 employees of the European Union sent a letter to von der Leyen expressing their disapproval of what they perceive as a biased stance towards Israel in the Israel-Hamas conflict. This letter was written as a response to the president’s omission of the EU’s endorsement of Palestinian statehood during a speech in Washington on Thursday. Despite the fact that the two-state solution is a central aspect of the European countries’ stance, it was not mentioned by the president.
However, on Sunday, von der Leyen reaffirmed her previous position in a speech to the youth wing of her German center-right CDU/CSU political party.
She emphasized the importance of Israel’s compliance with international law in its defense against the Hamas terrorist organization. However, she did not address the issue of Palestinian statehood and simply stated the need for humanitarian assistance. She also stated that it is possible to support Israel while also providing aid to Gaza.
Von der Leyen also drew a comparison between Israel’s involvement in the conflict and Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression.
In a speech at the CDU/CSU youth wing congress in Braunschweig, Germany, von der Leyen stated that the conflicts all share a common theme: the battle between those who strive for peace, harmony, liberty, and collaboration, and those who do not value these ideals because they benefit from the turmoil and disarray.
Her comments may be viewed as contentious due to the fact that although Israel is unquestionably protecting itself in response to a violent attack by Hamas militants, the nation’s settlement policy, which is often scrutinized and complex, may not truly promote a fair or peaceful approach to cooperation.
According to Human Rights Watch, Israel has been condemned for “engaging in the acts of apartheid and persecution against millions of Palestinian individuals, which are considered crimes against humanity.”
Von der Leyen expressed strong opposition towards Iran, stating that they support Hamas. She also stated that Iran has no desire for peace in the region and instead seeks to incite violence and disorder to maintain their influence.