This morning, Israel conducted an operation inside Gaza targeting a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In response, rockets were fired from Gaza on southern and central Israel. The firing of rockets on civilian populations is totally unacceptable and must immediately stop. A rapid and complete de-escalation is now necessary to safeguard the lives and security of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. The European Union fully supports the efforts of Egypt in this regard.
In October 2019, Israeli authorities approved the advancement of well over 2.000 housing units in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. The European Union's position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace, as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334.
Freedom of expression, in all its forms, is the very essence of democracy. Only with a thriving, free and independent media landscape, we can hold governments, businesses and society at large accountable. And precisely for this fundamental right, far too often, journalists and media workers are attacked, persecuted, harassed, or intimidated for carrying out their work. Most journalists are not wounded in the heat of war coverage, but suffer violence in our immediate surroundings. In 2018 alone, 94 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents as reported by the International Federation of Journalists. Hundreds more have been subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention without ever having been tried in a court.
Following up to the ARLEM report on "Youth entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean" adopted in February 2019, the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) shall award a successful young entrepreneur from the South Mediterranean partner countries and the local authority which helped her/his activity at its plenary session on 23 January 2020. The ARLEM award aims to inspire both potential entrepreneurs and local and regional authorities as well as to contribute to a positive narrative.
EU foreign affairs ministers, gathered today in Luxembourg for a Foreign Affairs Council, have condemned Turkey's military action in north east Syria. "We have a common united European Union position … on the developments in the north-east of Syria … there is a clear condemnation from the European Union’s side of Turkey’s military action", said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the Council.