A humanitarian crisis in Gaza must be avoided “as far as possible,” said Josep Borrell, the European Union’s (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on Monday.
Borrell was speaking at talks on the Israel-Hamas conflict during the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
“We have to avoid as far as possible a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In order to achieve this, it is absolutely imperative that we provide humanitarian aid and that the people who need it have access to it,” said Borrell.
“We have had some first convoys, but not many,” he said. Before the conflict, “there were about 100 lorries a day crossing into Gaza, now it is about 20 a day and the needs are even greater now than before.”
“These first convoys are a positive signal, but we have to increase the number and the speed with which the convoys go in,” he added. “We have to provide medicine, food, and the ministers agreed that we also need to provide the fuel that is necessary to make the desalination plants work.”
The EU and its member states will continue their intense outreach to regional partners and international actors to prevent a broader regional escalation, said the EU Council in a statement, adding that it upholds its “ultimate objective to achieve a two-state solution.”
EU foreign ministers also discussed the long-term perspective for peace in the region, agreeing that it is crucial to re-energize the political process.
A convoy of 20 trucks entered Gaza through Rafah on Saturday, the first in two weeks since the escalation of tensions between Israel and Palestinians.
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, to which Israel responded with massive airstrikes and punitive measures, including a siege on the enclave with supplies of water, electricity, fuel, and other necessities being cut off.