UPDATED: EU increases humanitarian aid to Gaza by €25 million

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As part of the EU’s continued support to people in Gaza, the Commission will provide a further €25 million in humanitarian aid. This quadruples EU humanitarian assistance to over €100 million for Gaza this year.

The new assistance will be provided to humanitarian organisations to provide life-saving assistance, in particular focusing on water and sanitation, health, food and other essential items.

Announcing the funding today, President von der Leyen said: “Today, I can announce that we are further increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza by another €25 million. By doing so, the European Union would spend a total of €100 million in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza. At the same time, we are working with Israel, Egypt, and the United Nations, to let more convoys into Gaza, including through corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs.”

access to hostages

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday suggested a plan under which Israel could suspend its military operation in Gaza in return for the Red Cross getting held by Hamas.

“I think that a humanitarian pause counterbalanced by an access to hostages with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a first step to their release is an initiative in which we should work,” Borrell told European Union diplomats in Brussels.

The EU, United States and Britain have been pushing for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza to ensured people in the besieged territory get help.

The EU has been providing humanitarian assistance to Palestine since 2000.

The European Council Conclusions, adopted on 26 October, called for continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs.

The EU has launched a Humanitarian Air Bridge operation in aid to the people affected by the crisis, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian cargo supplied by partners such as UNICEF and international organisations

Since 16 October, 6 flights carrying over 263 tonnes of aid reached Egypt. The operations aim to facilitate the prepositioning of aid in support of fast delivery of assistance to people in need in Gaza.

Furthermore, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to offer support for repatriation flights from Israel.

Von der Leyen: “Israel has the right to defend itself”

Israel has the right to defend itself while Hamas hides fighters and weapons under refugee camps. The President of the European Commission said this, Ursula von der Leyen, during his speech at the Conference of EU Ambassadors in Brussels.

“Supporting Israel is essential and helping civilians of Gaza it is equally essential. The humanitarian situation is terrible. The death toll and suffering of Palestinian civilians is tragic,” von derl Leyen said.

“As policymakers we face a terrible dilemma: Israel has the right to defend itself, while Hamas hides fighters in bunkers and stores weapons under refugee camps and civilian infrastructure.

Hamas is clearly using innocent Palestinians and hostages as human shields. It’s horrible, it’s pure evil and our hearts bleed for the images of children being pulled out from under the rubble,” she added. “All of us, as democracies and as human beings, have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect civilians who find themselves in danger. So while Israel has the right to fight Hamas, it is essential that it strives to avoid civilian casualties and be as targeted as possible. Because every human life matters, be it Israeli or Palestinian, and this is fundamental for our diplomatic action in these days and weeks,” he concluded von der Leyen.

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