BRUSSELS: EU foreign ministers on Monday pressed Israel for an eventual two-state solution with the Palestinians after the war in Gaza, at meetings with the top diplomats from the two sides and key Arab states in Brussels.
The surprise Hamas attack on October 7 on Israel and the subsequent devastating military response from Israel has plunged the Middle East into fresh turmoil and sparked fears of a broader conflict.
But while the bloodshed appears to have driven a long-term solution further out of sight, EU officials insist the time is now to talk about finally resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The 27 EU ministers met first with Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz before they were due to sit down separately with the Palestinian Authority’s top diplomat, Riyad al-Maliki.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were also holding talks with the European ministers.
EU foreign ministers to meet Israeli, Palestinian counterparts
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn condemnation from the United Nations and defied key backer the United States by rejecting calls for a Palestinian state.
Israel’s assault on Gaza has left over 25,000 Palestinians dead, the vast majority women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Netanyahu has vowed “complete victory” over Hamas after the attacks by the movement’s fighters on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Hamas also seized about 250 hostages and Israel says around 132 remain in besieged Gaza.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Israel that “peace and stability cannot be built only by military means”.
Israeli aggression hammers Gaza’s south, hostage families urge Netanyahu to seek deal