The European Commission said late Monday that humanitarian aid to the Palestinians would not be suspended, reversing an earlier statement by one of its top officials.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said during the day on Monday that after the Hamas attack on Israel on Saturday “all payments [to the Palestinians] will be suspended immediately. All projects are under review. All new budget proposals, including those for 2023, have been postponed until further notice”.
In a later reaction, the European Commission contradicted its official Varhelyi, saying that “there will be no suspension of payments”. The commission did not provide an explanation for this mess.
Since Saturday, support for Israel has been overwhelming from the EU’s 27 countries, which have said the country has every right under international law to defend itself in the war against Hamas.
Meanwhile, Spain has opposed the suspension of aid to the Palestinians, with its acting Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, saying on Tuesday that “this cooperation must definitely continue, because we cannot involve Hamas, which the EU it is on the list of terrorist groups, with the Palestinian people, or the Palestinian Authority, or the United Nations organizations on the ground.”
He told Spanish radio Cadena SER that the Palestinian territories are likely to need more aid in the near future, following the Hamas attack against Israel on Saturday and the resulting Israeli retaliatory bombing of the Gaza Strip.
The European Union’s foreign ministers will meet today to discuss this issue.
On Monday, Israel announced a complete siege of the Gaza Strip, preventing the entry of food and water, as well as cutting off the electricity supply. This has fueled fears that the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza will worsen very quickly.
Israel continued its deadly bombardment of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, after the militant group threatened to kill some of the 150 or so hostages it seized over the weekend if the airstrikes continued without warning.
The death toll in Israel has risen to 900 from Hamas attacks, for which Israel has retaliated by bombing Gaza, where about 700 have been killed.