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The European Union member states have called on Hamas and other militant groups to disarm. The 28 foreign ministers met on Tuesday evening releasing a statement condemning Hamas and its rocket attack son Israel, as well as using the Palestinian population as human shields.
The statement reads: “The EU strongly condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians. These are criminal and unjustifiable acts. The EU calls on Hamas to immediately put an end to these acts and to renounce violence. All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm. The EU strongly condemns calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields.”
The EU Council called for “immediate cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip” as well as the opening of border crossings into Gaza as well as resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
On Palestinian casualties, “The EU condemns the loss of hundreds of civilian lives, among them many women and children. While recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks, the EU underlines that the Israeli military operation must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law. The EU stresses the need for protection of civilians at all times.” On resumed negotiations, the EU stated, “A fundamental change of policy on these negative developments is necessary to prevent the irreversible loss of the two-state solution” calling for “An agreement on the borders of the two states, based on 4 June 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties. Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with security threats, including with new and vital threats in the region. A just, fair, agreed and realistic solution to the refugee question.”
On Jerusalem and settlement growth the EU called for, “Fulfillment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states” calling on Israel to “halt continued settlement expansion … which severely threatens the two state solution.”
On Wednesday morning, the Palestinian Authority called for five days of negotiations in Cairo to negotiate terms of a ceasefire with Hamas. The PA supports Hamas’s demand for the release of re-incarcerated Palestinian prisoners freed during the Gilad Shalit exchange, but does agree that a ceasefire must be implemented before Hamas’s demands are discussed.
The UN Human Rights Council will meet Wednesday in Geneva to discuss Operation Protective Edge and has requested its necessary third of the Council members to attend.
Amir Tsarfati is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.