Charles Michel, President of the European Council, announced on Saturday evening that he was convening an extraordinary summit of EU leaders for Tuesday. The aim of the meeting, which will be held via videoconference, is to “define a common position” that will reflect the “complexity of the developing situation” in connection with the war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas.
In an invitation to EU leaders, Michel wrote that the “brutal Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel” that took place on October 7 resulted in “the tragic death of over a thousand innocent Israeli civilians.” “The hostages should be released immediately and without any preconditions. There is no justification for terror,” he stressed.
“We stand in full solidarity with the people of Israel and the victims of terrorist attacks. Israel has the right to defend itself in full respect of international law, in particular international humanitarian law. The tragic scenes unfolding in the Gaza Strip, resulting from the siege and the failure to meet basic needs, coupled with the destruction caused by heavy shelling, raise concern in the international community,” noted the President of the European Council.
The European Council is to define a “common position” and establish a “single course of action”
“It is extremely important that the European Council, in line with the Treaties and our values, defines a common position and establishes a clear, united course of action that reflects the complexity of the developing situation,” Michel added. “This conflict has many consequences, also for us in the European Union,” he wrote, listing the Community’s tasks, among others: providing humanitarian aid and avoiding the escalation of the conflict in that region.
Israel’s war with Hamas
The Israel Defense Forces announced on Saturday evening that they were completing preparations for a “significant ground operation” in the Gaza Strip. They indicated that preparations include “a wide range of offensive operational plans,” including “a combined and coordinated air, sea and land attack.” Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with infantry soldiers stationed near the border with the Gaza Strip.
At the same time, the Israel Defense Forces ordered all civilians living in the northern part of the Gaza Strip to evacuate ahead of the expected Israeli military ground operation.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ATEF SAFADI