Israel-Palestine conflict International

EU mulls ways to help defuse Israel-Palestinian fighting

A view shows the remains of a building after it was destroyed in Israeli air strikes, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza City May 18, 2021.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

European Union foreign ministers are meeting Tuesday to discuss how to use the 27-nation bloc's political clout to help diplomatic efforts to end the fighting between the Israeli armed forces and Palestinian militants.

The EU has been united in its calls for a ceasefire and the need for a political solution to end the latest conflict – now in its second week – but the nations are divided over how best to help. No firm decisions involving threats of sanctions or other measures are likely from the ministers' video-conference.

Also read | Israel, Hamas trade fire in Gaza as war enters second week

At least 212 Palestinians have been killed in heavy airstrikes so far, including 61 children, and over 1,400 people wounded, Gaza's Health Ministry said. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, have been killed in rocket attacks launched from toward civilian areas in Israel.

Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes on what it said were militant targets in Gaza, levelling a six-story building in downtown Gaza City, and Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel early Tuesday, the latest in the fourth war between the two sides.

Watch | “You have 10 minutes”: a first-person account of the Israeli strike on Gaza tower

The EU is the biggest donor of aid to the Palestinians but holds little influence over the militant group Hamas or the state of Israel, despite having some trade arrangements that are favourable to the Israelis.

European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said Tuesday's meeting is aimed at working out “how best the EU can contribute to defusing the tensions, stop the escalation and stop the ongoing violence”.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 4:28:37 PM |

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