“Before the war, Gaza was the largest open-air prison in the world, today it is the largest open-air cemetery: for tens of thousands of people, but also for the key principles of international law.” It is with this harsh hyperbole that Josep Borrell described the framework in which the discussions of EU Foreign Ministers will take place today, meeting in Brussels to take stock and take decisions on major international issues. European, but also American, public opinion has now taken a firm direction on the issue of the crisis in Gaza, and decision-makers are called upon to take this into account by taking clear actions, recalled the high representative of the EU for foreign policy: “US House Democratic Leader Schumer called for early elections in Israel to change leaders, German Chancellor Scholz said Europeans cannot sit idly by for months while Palestinians are dying,” Borrell recalled, before directly accusing Israel of the current humanitarian crisis: “Hunger in Gaza is being used as a weapon of war, let’s be realistic. Quantities of food have been blocked at the border for months, while in the Gaza Strip people are starving. Israel must open the doors and let in aid. »

From words to actions

But what does the EU actually intend to do to change the situation? In addition to the renewal of the ceasefire request, on the Council table today is notably the proposal to adopt new sanctions both against Hamas and against the “violent settlers who attack Palestinians in the West Bank”, recalled Borrell, hoping for a political agreement between the 27 on the two measures. Among the member countries, some would like to go further, even calling into question the association agreement which governs all relations between the EU and Israel. But its suspension is not on the agenda, Borrell clarified: “Two member states have asked to discuss it, and we will: it will be a politically oriented debate, and depending on what emerges, we Let's see if we need to go in one direction. or another. We are not talking about suspension, but of a political dimension based on respect for international humanitarian law. » However, very severe tones, which have already triggered a reaction from the Israeli government: “It is time for Borrell to stop attacking Israel and recognize its right to self-defense against the crimes of Hamas”, responded promptly Israeli Foreign Minister Katz, recalling how Israel allowed the entry of “enormous humanitarian aid by land, air and sea to anyone who wants to send it.”

Farcical elections in Russia and support for Ukraine

The meeting of EU foreign ministries, which will also include his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, takes place the day after the expected plebiscite for Vladimir Putin celebrated yesterday in Russia, as well as in a extremely delicate context. phase of fighting on the front for Ukraine. These topics will also be at the center of discussions. Putin's re-election is based on “repression and intimidation”, Borrell clearly declared before the start of the meeting, as well as on the “violation of Ukrainian sovereignty”, considering that the voting operations also took place in the occupied territories of eastern Ukraine. by force by Moscow. Also on this front, in addition to the declarations, new consequential decisions from EU ministers are expected: in this case too, new sanctions are on the table, which should punish a series of those responsible for the “assassination of Alexeï Navalny”, but also possible decisions on the use of profits generated by Russian assets frozen in Western financial institutions. These resources should be used immediately to support Ukraine's defense capabilities, as kyiv demands. The issue is extremely delicate on a legal level, even before on a financial level, but it has been examined by experts for months and Borrell clearly stated that he hoped that today the field would be cleared of residual doubts and that we were moving forward. “The war in Ukraine is beyond the point of no return in terms of consequences for Europe and no European country will remain unscathed if the conflict does not reach a just outcome,” once again sounded the alarm this morning in a press release. interview with EURACTIV.

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