EU opposes total siege of Gaza: Borrell

The European Union foreign ministers have urged Israel not to cut "water, food, or electricity" to Gaza and called for humanitarian corridors for those trying to flee the territory, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has stated.

The representatives of the 27 EU countries held emergency talks after the surprise attack by Hamas and as Israel unleashed a reprisal bombing campaign of Gaza.

The European ministers insisted on the need for “respect of international law humanitarian law and it means no blockage of water, food or electricity to the civil population in Gaza”, Josep Borrell said.

“Israel has the right to defend but it has to be done accordingly with international law, humanitarian law, and some decisions are contrary to this international law,” Borrell told journalists in Oman’s capital Muscat.

He added the EU meeting called for “humanitarian corridors to facilitate people who have to escape the bombing of Gaza” across the border to Egypt.

After mixed signals from Brussels over the future of its financial support, Borrell said an “overwhelming majority” of EU states oppose suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority.

“Not all the Palestinian people are terrorists,” he added.

“A collective punishment against all Palestinians will be unfair, and unproductive. It will be against our interest and against the interest of peace.”

Brussels had earlier rowed back comments from EU neighbourhood commissioner Oliver Varhelyi that the bloc was immediately suspending “all payments” to the Palestinians.

But the EU’s executive arm has launched an “urgent review” to see if any of the funds have indirectly gone towards funding Hamas.

Borrell stated that neither the Israeli foreign minister nor his Palestinian counterpart took up an invitation to address the EU meeting.

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