In the wake of Hamas’ recent attack on Israel, the European Commission has taken a significant step by freezing all development aid to Palestinians, totalling 691 million euros ($729 million). This move comes as a response to the escalation of violence in the region, marking a substantial policy shift.
Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, underscored the gravity of the situation, stating, “The scale of terror and brutality against Israel and its people is a turning point. There can be no business as usual.”
Hamas’ attack, which resulted in the death of 700 Israelis and the abduction of dozens, represents the deadliest incursion since the Yom Kippur war half a century ago. In response, Israel launched its most extensive bombardment of Gaza, leading to the tragic loss of over 400 lives.
Varhelyi further emphasised the suspension of new budget proposals for Palestinian aid until further notice, emphasising the need to prioritise efforts aimed at establishing peace, tolerance, and coexistence in the region. Reuters quoted him as saying, “The foundations for peace, tolerance, and co-existence must now be addressed,” underlining the urgency of the situation.
He added that there had been an incitement to hatred, violence, and glorification of terror that had affected the thinking of many individuals. He emphasised the urgent need for action, stating that it was required immediately.
This decision has elicited responses from other European nations as well. Austria has announced the suspension of aid amounting to tens of millions of euros to Palestinians, citing the need to ensure that funds do not fall into the wrong hands. Meanwhile, Germany has initiated a review of its support, reflecting the growing concern and commitment to addressing the complexities of the situation in the West Asia.