Israeli plan to destroy Hamas not working, says Borrell

by Andrew Gray

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Israel’s plan to destroy Hamas in Gaza is not working and the European Union (EU) must continue its efforts to create a “two-state solution” despite Israel’s opposition, said on Monday the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed on Sunday his uncompromising position towards any Palestinian state, which he said would represent an “existential danger” for the Jewish state.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan as well as the secretary general of the League of Arab States are participating in the meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday, which will focus on consequences of the October 7 attacks against Israel by Hamas and on Israel’s military response.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and his Palestinian Authority counterpart, Riyad Al Maliki, are participating separately in the Brussels meeting, largely devoted to the Middle East, but which will also take stock of the war in Ukraine.

“To say that the goal is to destroy Hamas is one-sided, because it means that it will be up to Israel to decide when it considers that Hamas has become sufficiently weak. We cannot continue to work like this,” he said. Josep Borrell to journalists.

He added that he wanted to continue international efforts to create a process that would result in a two-state solution.

Josep Borrell further said that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip “could not be worse.”

According to Gaza health authorities, the Israeli military offensive has killed more than 25,000 Palestinians and forced most of the Palestinian enclave’s 2.3 million residents to leave their homes.

Ahead of the meeting, the European executive sent the Twenty-Seven a document to serve as a basis for discussions in which a road map for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is suggested.

The document, seen by numerous news organizations including Reuters, makes clear that one of the main goals of the peace plan should be the creation of an independent Palestinian state, “living side by side with Israel in peace and security”.

“All those who say they do not want to hear about such a solution have not proposed an alternative,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Jordan’s foreign minister also called for a two-state solution, lambasting the Israeli government’s “radical racist agenda.”

“The only way out of this misery is a two-state solution,” Ayman Safadi told reporters in Brussels.

On Friday, EU member countries agreed on a new sanctions regime against six members of the Palestinian organization Hamas. The bloc’s foreign ministers are also due to discuss on Monday measures against Israeli settlers responsible for violence in the West Bank.

“I hope that sanctions will also be taken in the coming days against violent settlers in the West Bank in particular,” French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said in Brussels on Monday.

(With the contribution of Bart Meijer, Tassilo Hummel and Sudip Kar-Gupta; French version Stéphanie Hamel and Diana Mandiá, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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