EU chief accuses Israel of using ‘starvation as a war arm’ in Gaza

The European Union's foreign minister, Josep Borrell, talks during a press conference after a meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 5, 2024. (John Thys/AFP)
The European Union's foreign minister, Josep Borrell, talks during a press conference after a meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels, on March 5, 2024. (John Thys/AFP)

UNITED NATIONS — The European Union’s foreign policy chief accuses Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war and of blocking overland routes that are the best way to get food to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians facing famine in the Gaza Strip.

Josep Borrell tells the UN Security Council that humanitarian assistance must get into Gaza where there is no natural disaster, flood or earthquake.

“This is a man-made crisis,” Borrell says. “And when we look for alternative ways of providing support by sea or by air, we have to remind that we have to do it because the natural way of providing support to roads is being closed — artificially closed — and starvation is being used as a war arm.”

He says that this practice is being condemned in Ukraine, and the same words have to be used in Gaza.

Borrell says the EU is waiting for the results of three investigations into Israeli allegations that 12 staff members from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, participated in Hamas’ October 7 attacks in southern Israel, which sparked the ongoing war. But he stresses that UNRWA only exists because there are Palestinian refugees, the definition of which includes not only those who fled or were displaced from their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s founding but also all their descendants — which is not the norm with most refugee populations worldwide.

And if UNRWA disappears, the refugees will still be there, Borrell says. “In fact, there is only one way to make UNRWA disappear – making those refugees citizens of a Palestinian state that co-exists with an Israeli state.”

To make this a reality, Borrell says the first step should be for the UN Security Council to unanimously adopt a resolution endorsing a two-state solution and “defining the general principles which might lead to this result.”

Stressing the very wide support for a two-state solution, he says that would be “a wonderful opportunity to show that our principles are not empty words.”

Most Popular