EU Halts Development Funding to Palestinians
The European Commission has announced that it is to halt all development funding to the Palestinians in the wake of the attacks by Hamas on Israel on Saturday. Taking to X (formerly Twitter) Oliver Varhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement said, ‘The scale of terror and brutality against Israel and its people is a turning point. There can be no business as usual. As the biggest donor of the Palestinians, the European Commission is putting its full development portfolio under review, worth a total of €691 million.’
Commission Varhelyi said the decision involved, the immediate suspension of all payments, putting all projects under review, all new budget proposals including for 2023 are to be postponed until further notice and a comprehensive assessment of the whole portfolio is to be undertaken.
He said, ‘The foundations for peace, tolerance and co-existence must now be addressed. Incitement to hatred, violence and glorification of terror have poisoned the minds of too many. We need action and we need it now.’
Members of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee are due to meet tomorrow to discuss the attacks on Saturday and the consequences for the wider region. A statement from the European Parliament today said, Terrorists belonging to the Hamas militant group launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday 7th October, killing hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers across towns in the southern part of the country and taking many hostages. In addition to fighting back, Israel has responded with air strikes on a wide range of targets inside Gaza, with Palestinian casualties so far numbering in the hundreds.
Following a briefing by representatives of the European External Action Service and the European Commission, MEPs will discuss the latest violence on the ground and what consequences the renewed hostilities between Israel and Hamas could have for the stability of the wider Middle East region.
Meanwhile, member states are adopting differing approaches to their ongoing provision of aid to the Palestinians. Austria has stopped aid to the area however Italy has said it will continue to provide humanitarian aid as doing otherwise would impact civilians and not those who organized and carried out the attacks.
As Israel continues its attacks on Gaza in retaliation, carrying out airstrikes, Israeli Ministers have declared a total siege on the area. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel would impose a ‘complete siege’ on Gaza’s 2.3 million people saying, ‘No electricity, no food, no water, no gas… it’s all closed.’