EU's Borrell slams Israel's 'appalling lack of distinction' in Gaza

AFP , Monday 18 Dec 2023

Israel's military is showing "an appalling lack of distinction" in its targeting in Gaza, the EU's top diplomat said Monday, highlighting the deaths of Israeli hostages, worshippers and other Palestinian civilians.

 Josep Borrell
High Representative of the Union for Josep Borrell talks to the media as he arrives at the European headquarters for the EU-Western Balkans summit, in Brussels. AFP

 

"We are witnessing an appalling lack of distinction in Israel's military operation in Gaza," European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell posted on social media.

"Worshippers, three Israeli captives, and hundreds of other civilians have died during the most recent military operations," he said.

"This must stop. A humanitarian pause is urgently needed."

The criticism followed Israel's admission that its forces had on Friday mistakenly shot dead three hostages who had escaped their captors inside Gaza.

On Saturday, a Palestinian Christian mother and daughter were shot dead "in cold blood" by an Israeli soldier on the grounds of Gaza's only Catholic church, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

Pope Francis on Sunday deplored the women's killing, saying it happened in a church complex "where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities".

Israel's military said it was looking into that incident.

More than 18,800 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments since October 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Israeli launched a relentless military operation in Gaza since Hamas conducted an offensvie in Israel on October 7 that killed around 1,140 people, and took an estimated 240 captives, according to Israeli figures.

The EU's 27 nations are divided over how Israel is carrying out its military operations in Gaza.

Most back a call for a ceasefire endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly.

But some believe that such a move would bind Israel's hands as it seeks to achieve its stated objective of eliminating Hamas.

"Far too many civilians have been killed in Gaza, as pointed out among others also by the French, German and UK foreign ministers," Borrell said in his post.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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