European leaders unite for the first time since October and join the United States in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza

The European Union also urged Israel to avoid a ground operation in Rafah, where allegedly Hamas's last armed strongholds are located.

This Thursday, the European Union (EU) joined together for the first time since the Hamas attacks on Israel and issued a joint statement urging a “sustainable ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip and, at the same time, urging Israel to avoid a ground operation in Rafah, a city bordering Egypt.

After months of debate, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, reported that the 27 European leaders reached a unified agreement on the situation in the Middle East, which hardens their stance towards Israel.

“The EU calls for an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire. Full and safe humanitarian access into Gaza is essential to provide the civilian population with life-saving assistance in a catastrophic situation in Gaza,” Michel stated.

Although the EU strongly condemned Hamas for its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7, 2023, and recognized Israel’s right to defend itself under international law, it claims there has been a “disproportionate effect” on civilians that “could worsen” if Israel carries out its military operation in Rafah.

“Immediate measures should be taken to prevent any further population displacement and provide safe shelter to the population to ensure that civilians are protected at all times,” says the statement from European leaders, which expresses that it is “deeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

The text also highlights the importance of complete, rapid and safe humanitarian access to and throughout the Gaza Strip, through all routes, to provide life-saving assistance and essential services on a large scale to the civilian population. Likewise, it calls for the “unconditional” release of all hostages.

The EU statement adds to the pressure the Biden Administration has been exerting to achieve a temporary ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The United States has also urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the offensive in Rafah. However, so far, Netanyahu has remained firm in his stance on carrying out an operation in the city bordering Egypt to put an end to the terrorist group.

It should be noted that the Israeli government assures that at this time, there are at least four armed battalions of the Hamas terrorist group inside the border city and maintains that they cannot put an end to the “the war goal of eliminating Hamas” until they finish off the last terrorists in Gaza.