In a speech to a gathering of Palestinian youth in Brussels on Monday, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, recalled the morning’s slaying of three children outside a Jewish school in Toulouse by a gunman on a motorbike.

Ashton, speaking at an UNRWA event, cited a list of events — including the deaths of the French children, deaths of Belgian children in a recent bus accident, killings in Syria, Gaza, and the massacre of more than 70 people by Anders Breivik in Norway last year — as examples of children losing their lives ”in all sorts of terrible circumstances.”

“When we remember young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances — the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy, and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world — we remember young people and children who lose their lives,” she said.

Ashton congratulated the perseverance of Palestinian youth. “Against all the odds, they continue to learn, to work, to dream and aspire to a better future,” she told them.

Some 25 people were killed in Gaza during the recent cross-border hostilities with Israel. Almost all were associated with terrorist organizations there. A Palestinian claim that a child had been killed by an Israeli air strike at a Gaza funeral was subsequently acknowledged as false; the death was a result of gunfire unleashed at the funeral.