European Union proposes arms embargo on Israel amid controversial Rafah offensive

The idea was proposed by the EU’s high representative for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, who stressed that operations in southern Gaza are “excessive” and “disproportionate”. At the same time, Dutch justice ordered not to send F-35 aircraft parts to this Middle Eastern country. After the rescue of two Argentine hostages, Hamas accused Israel of committing a “massacre” against civilians.

The offensive on Rafah, a town on the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt, has further increased tensions between Israel and the West. As part of an operation by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which has been invading towns from the north to the south of the Palestinian enclave for weeks, international diplomacy is observing with concern There is only one last town left for civilians to evacuate.

The European Union’s top foreign policy representative, Josep Borrell, criticized the operation and went so far as to propose an “arms embargo” against Israel. “It appears that Israel is carrying out a new operation. (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu wants 1.7 million people evacuated without saying where they can be evacuated. he assured.

The suggestion of an arms embargo came after the head of European diplomacy considered “unbearable” the high rate of civilian deaths in Gaza . US President Joe Biden was also reluctant about Netanyahu’s plans in Rafah.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, during a meeting in Brussels. Photo: Reuters

Arriving at an informal meeting of development ministers in Brussels, Borrell noted: “Maybe there is something better to do than express concern.” While he welcomed the release of two Hamas hostages, he assured that measures must be taken against the advance of Rafah: Egypt warned that it would not be able to continue aid humanitarian if the city was attacked. “The situation with Egypt is very tense and we are very worried about what could happen there,” he said.

He also condemned Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call to “evacuate” more than a million Palestinians concentrated in Rafah. “They are going to evacuate them… Where? To the Moon?” criticized the head of European diplomacy.

Borrell also pointed out that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – who last week completed his fifth tour in four months to the Middle East to promote a possible truce between the two sides in the conflict – had “begged” Netanyahu “to stop” for killing people. »

F-35 aircraft participating in a North American military exercise in Germany. Photo: Reuters

“Even President Biden himself says this action is disproportionate. » and that the death rate is unbearable and called on Israel not to continue on this path. But, words aside, what do you think should be done? “If you think the mortality rate is too high, is there any chance of reducing it?,” Borrell said. Asked what could be done about it, he assured that he would stop selling weapons to Israel.

The United States is currently Israel’s main arms supplier. being responsible for 80% of its wartime imports. From there, European countries, and in particular Germany, also appear as suppliers: in January, Berlin reported that the increase in war exports had increased from 32 to 303 million euros.

At the same time, the Dutch justice ordered the executive to stop the shipment to Israel of F-35 aircraft parts, manufactured by the United States, but distributed from the Dutch military base of Woensdrecht. The decision, handed down by the Courts of Appeal in The Hague, indicates that “Israel does not sufficiently consider the consequences of its attacks on the civilian population. »

The court found that “there is a clear risk that Israeli F-35 fighters committing serious violations of humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip. At the moment, Amsterdam has eight weeks to appeal the decision, but it will come into force on Monday anyway.

The case was brought to justice by the humanitarian organization Oxfam Novib, alongside other NGOs, believing that these components violated the laws of war. The lawsuit claims that the Netherlands “knows that warplanes are being used to attack Gaza. »

Fernando Simón Marman and Louis Hare, two freed Hamas hostages, at the hospital in the city of Ramat Gan, Israel. Photo: Reuters

In fact, to confirm the Israeli media the operation that the madrugada of this moon allowed to release the Argentineans: Fernando Simón Marman, of 60 years, and Norberto Louis Har, of 70, ambos secuestras on the kibutz Nir Yitzhak and 7 of october. The liberation operation was carried out in Rafah, where Netanyahu claims to attack “the last bastion of Hamas”.

The Islamic group, for its part, claimed that during the Israeli operation, a “massacre against unarmed civilians” had been committed. ““This has left more than 100 martyrs, it is a continuation of the genocide and attempts of forced displacement against our Palestinian people.” » declared Hamas, while the Ministry of Health reported 67 deaths following the night’s attacks.

Netanyahu celebrated the operation and visited the forces that participated in it, considering their role in “one of the most successful rescue operations in Israel’s history.” “This is one of the most successful rescue operations in Israeli history: you eliminated the kidnappers, the terrorists, you returned to Israel unscathed: a perfect operation. A few days ago the operation was submitted to me for approval and I approved it. A few hours later, I thought about three things: the sacredness of the mission; in risks versus possibilities, and there were risks; and thirdly, I thought of you, the warriors,” the Prime Minister said.

Fernando Simón Marman and Louis Har, the two hostages freed during a special forces operation in Rafah, reunite with their loved ones at the Sheba medical center, in Ramat Gan, Israel, February 12, 2024. Photo: Reuters

US President Joe Biden warned Netanyahu on Sunday that the impending military operation in Rafah should not be undertaken “without a credible and enforceable plan that guarantees security and support” for the 1.4 million people housed in the border town with the ‘Egypt.

Also this weekend, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he was “deeply concerned” about the possibility of Israel bombing an area “where half of Gaza’s population is sheltering.” As he wrote on the social network.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s King Abdullah II continues his diplomatic efforts with a tour of Western countries to call for an end to Israeli hostilities in the Palestinian enclave. This Friday, the monarch will be received in Washington by President Joe Biden. The two are expected to discuss ongoing efforts to free hostages held in Gaza and growing concerns about a possible Israeli military operation in Rafah.

Despite international calls, Israeli army prepares for ground incursion in the city, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinian civilians have found refuge, underlines France 24. It was the last place of relative protection they had, amid the air and ground attacks which began in the north of Gaza and continued. are propagated more deeply. in these four months of war.

Source: Latercera


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