EU urges Israel to "immediately" end military operation in Rafah-Xinhua

EU urges Israel to "immediately" end military operation in Rafah

Source: Xinhua| 2024-05-15 19:07:15|Editor: huaxia

BRUSSELS, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Wednesday urged Israel to end its military operation in Rafah "immediately," stressing that continued military operation would "inevitably put a heavy strain" on its relationship with Israel.

"The European Union is calling on Israel to refrain from further exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and reopen the crossing point of Rafah," Josep Borrell, EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a statement.

"Should Israel continue its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a heavy strain on the EU's relationship with Israel," Borrell noted.

Israel's military operation is further disrupting the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is leading to more internal displacement, exposure to famine and human suffering, he said, adding that more than a million civilians are sheltering in and around Rafah and have been told to evacuate to unsafe areas.

While the EU recognizes Israel's right to defend itself, it must do so in line with the International Humanitarian Law and ensure the safety of civilians, the statement stressed, adding that under the International Humanitarian Law, Israel must allow and facilitate unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians.

Meanwhile, the EU also condemned Hamas's attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing which has further obstructed the delivery of humanitarian relief supplies. It called on all parties to redouble efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas.

Israeli tanks on Tuesday marched towards the center of Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, as tens of thousands of residents fled to evade an Israeli ground offensive, a local source reported.