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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Palestinian diplomat appeals for peace in Gaza at a gathering between EU and Arab nations in Spain

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BARCELONA, Spain — Hours earlier than Israel and Hamas agreed to increase their expiring cease-fire by two extra days, the highest Palestinian diplomat made a plea throughout a Monday assembly of European Union members and Arab nations for a definitive finish to Israel’s retaliatory assaults on the Gaza Strip .

“Now we have to search out the right way to apply the mandatory strain in order that the Israeli authorities doesn’t proceed killing harmless folks, in order that we are able to proceed counting cadavers,” Riad al-Maliki mentioned in Spanish throughout a information convention in the course of the gathering of diplomats in Barcelona, Spain.

Al-Maliki warned that any resumption of the battle by Israel would rapidly result in extra deaths in a battle that has killed greater than 14,000 folks, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians. He’s the overseas minister for the internationally acknowledged Palestinian Authority, whose forces have been pushed out of Gaza by Hamas when it seized energy in 2007.

Israel didn’t attend the assembly hosted by the Union for the Mediterranean and chaired by the EU’s overseas coverage chief, Josep Borrell, and Jordanian International Minister Ayman Safadi. Lots of the 43 delegations have been represented by their overseas ministers.

In recent times, the occasion has develop into largely a discussion board for cooperation between the EU and the Arab world. Monday’s gathering was presupposed to give attention to the function of the union 15 years after its basis, however it has taken on new significance because the Oct. 7 Hamas assault that killed greater than 1,200 Israelis and led to just about 240 folks being taken hostage and Israel’s ensuing battle within the Gaza Strip.

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Whereas the assembly didn’t produce any main coverage initiatives, it did provide an opportunity for European diplomats to listen to straight from northern African and Center Jap nations who strongly assist the Palestinian trigger and concern the Israel-Hamas battle may destabilize the area.

Borrell mentioned he “regretted” the absence of Israel. He repeated his condemnation of the Hamas assault, whereas calling on Israel to completely finish its assault, which he mentioned has claimed the lives of over 5,000 kids.

“One horror can not justify one other horror,” Borrell mentioned. “Peace between Israel and Palestine has develop into a strategic crucial for the whole Euro-Mediterranean neighborhood and past.”

Jordan’s Safadi, who informed The Related Press on the eve of the occasion that he hoped the talks would assist “bridge a niche” between Arab and European international locations, urged the officers attending the assembly to again a two-state resolution that might acknowledge a Palestinian state.

However Safadi additionally acknowledged Monday after the assembly that regardless of a broad consensus for peace, there have been nonetheless some differing viewpoints on how arduous to push Israel to cease.

“Right now, we got here for a really open, very frank, very blunt dialog. We agreed and we disagreed. A few of our colleagues nonetheless name the killing of 15,000 Palestinians, the destruction of over 160,000 properties, the entire devastation of hospitals, the denial of meals, water, gas, drugs, is self-defense,” he mentioned. “We name it blatant aggression.”

Safadi wouldn’t say which international locations took the softer method to Israel, however the Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary have insisted on Israel’s proper to defend itself.

Saudi Arabia’s overseas minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, was invited to the occasion. Israel had been near normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia earlier than the Hamas assault.

“Continued escalation will produce no extreme ache for any get together,” Prince Faisal mentioned. “The one certain result’s extra destruction, radicalization and additional battle on the expense of Palestinian lives, in addition to regional safety, together with that of Israel.”

Borrell mentioned he wished the gathering to give attention to managing the humanitarian disaster in Gaza as soon as hostilities lastly cease. The EU would need the United Nations to take a number one function in establishing how greatest to fill any safety vacuum ought to Israeli forces defeat Hamas, in accordance with a senior EU official who was not approved to talk publicly and spoke on situation of anonymity.

A small pro-Palestinian group rallied earlier than the gathering on the artwork nouveau constructing that after housed Barcelona’s Sant Pau Hospital.

Israel gave no purpose for its determination to not attend the gathering. The EU is the world’s largest supplier of help to the Palestinians in addition to Israel’s largest commerce associate. Spain is among the EU international locations that has known as for Israel to stop its assault, whereas additionally condemning the Hamas assault.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez mentioned throughout a visit to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Egypt final week along with his Belgian counterpart that the time haf come for the worldwide neighborhood and the EU to acknowledge a Palestinian state. His remark prompted Israel to summon the Belgian and Spanish ambassadors.

Lebanese International Affairs Minister Abdallah Bou Habib mentioned he was happy that every one the European nations agreed to again a two-state resolution and don’t need Israel to occupy Gaza.

“I’m glad that the Europeans are eager about fixing the issue of drawback that’s 75 years {old},” he informed the AP. “They usually all agreed that Israel mustn’t keep within the Gaza Strip, and that it and the West Financial institution are one and will proceed to be one.”

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Related Press writers Lorne {Cook} in Brussels and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this report. Video-journalist Renata Brito additionally contributed.

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This story has been corrected to point out that Israel summoned the ambassadors of Spain and Belgium, not that it recalled its ambassadors to these international locations.



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