BRUSSELS (AP) – EU foreign ministers met on Tuesday to discuss how to use the political influence of the 27-nation bloc to help Israel’s diplomatic efforts to end fighting between Palestinian militants.
The EU is united in its call for a ceasefire and the need for a political solution to end the recent conflict, which is in its second week, but peoples are divided on how best to help. No definite decision on the threat of sanctions or other measures will be made as a result of the ministers’ video conference.
At least 212 Palestinians have been killed in airstrikes so far, including 61 children, and more than 1,400 people have been injured, the Gaza Ministry of Health has said. Ten people, including a 5-year-old boy, have been killed in rocket attacks on Israeli civilian areas from Gaza.
Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza militants targeting a six-story building in central Gaza City, and Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets at Israel on Tuesday, the latest in a fourth war between the two sides. ,
The EU is the largest donor to aid to the Palestinians, but has little influence over the Hamas militant group or the state of Israel, although it has some trade arrangements in favor of the Israelis.
European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said Tuesday’s meeting was aimed at “finding out to what extent the EU can help ease tensions, stop the escalation and end the ongoing violence.”