EU leader tells US: “Slow down arms shipments to Israel”

The situation in Gaza

Published 15 February 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Josep Borrell and an Israeli F-35I fighter jet.

On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on the US to cut arms supplies to Israel, citing the high number of Palestinian civilian deaths.

He also criticized Israeli plans to “evacuate” the southern part of the Gaza Strip, noting that there are no more places for civilians to flee.

Borrell noted that US President Joe Biden called Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack “over the top”, and that many US and other Western officials have raised the alarm that too many civilians are being killed in Gaza.

– Well, if you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people being killed, Borrell said, according to Reuters.

– If the international community believes that this is a slaughter, that too many people are being killed, maybe we have to think about the provision of arms, he added.

It should be noted that the US is Israel’s most important ally and arms supplier, and that Israel typically receives $3.8 billion in military aid each year, including fighter jets and bombs. This military aid has increased significantly during the ongoing war in Gaza.

Netherlands stops arms exports

However, Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the US State Department, said that the US had made “no decision” to reduce military aid to Israel and that it did not “believe that this is a step that would be more effective than the steps we have already taken”.

The EU foreign policy chief also noted that a Dutch court last week ordered the Dutch government to stop all exports of F–35 fighter jet parts to Israel – out of concern that they would be used against civilians in the Gaza war.

According to Borrell, it is contradictory for Western countries to repeatedly declare that Israel is killing too many civilians in Gaza, yet do nothing concrete to stop the killing.

“Should they evacuate to the moon?”

For its part, Israel says it is doing everything it can to protect civilians, but that Hamas operates among civilians and uses them as human shields – claims that Borrell does not accept.

– Everybody goes to Tel Aviv, begging ‘please don’t do that, protect civilians, don’t kill so many. How many is too many? What is the standard? Netanyahu doesn’t listen (to) anyone.

The EU summit also condemned Netanyahu’s demand to empty the Rafah area of Palestinians – the last part of Gaza relatively untouched by the invasion and where Palestinians had previously been told to flee.

They are going to evacuate? Where? To the moon? Where are they going to evacuate these people?

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