Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Ministers, Excellencies,
The EU is deeply concerned at the situation in the Middle East.
The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire, in order to protect civilians, and to provide full humanitarian access to Gaza.
The upsurge in violence in the last days has led to a high number of civilian deaths and injured, including a high number of children and women. This is unacceptable
The EU condemns the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups on Israeli territory. We fully support Israel’s right to self-defence. This has to be done in a proportionate manner and in full respect of international humanitarian law
In Jerusalem, the status quo of the Holy Sites must be fully respected, and the right to worship upheld. The EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and actions taken in this context. It will be important not to proceed with the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.
Looking ahead, real security for Israel and Palestine requires a true political solution that will bring peace. In order to achieve this outcome, we need to restore a political horizon, explore the space for meaningful re-engagement between the parties, develop confidence-building measures, improve living conditions for ordinary people, and open the path towards the potential relaunch of the peace process. In this context, the holding of Palestinian elections, including in East Jerusalem, must be considered a priority.
To this end, the EU will renew its engagement with key international partners, including the United States and other partners in the region, as well as with a revived Middle East Quartet.