The EU will spend a total of $108m in humanitarian aid for the civilians in Gaza, Ursula von der Leyen says.
The European Union will increase its humanitarian aid for Gaza by 25 million euros ($27m).
The additional funds, which were announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday, will raise the bloc’s aid fund for the bombarded enclave to 100 million euros ($108m). Brussels will now seek easier routes to get the aid into Gaza.
“The European Union will spend a total of 100 million euros in humanitarian aid for the civilians in Gaza,” von der Leyen told EU diplomats in Brussels.
The Commission chief said flows of aid into Gaza from Egypt “remain too small” and the EU was working on setting up other possible routes, including deliveries sea from Cyprus.
Von der Leyen said it was essential that Israel, for whose actions she has offered staunch support, “strives to avoid civilian casualties”, in its operation in Gaza.
“Hamas is clearly using innocent Palestinians and hostages as human shields – it is horrific and it is pure evil,” she said, referring to the group that rules the enclave.
“Our hearts bleed at the images of small children pulled out from under the rubble.”
Von der Leyen told diplomats that even as conflict rages, there needs to be a “perspective” for a two-state solution.
She insisted a prerequisite once the fighting stops is that “Gaza can be no safe haven for terrorists”, and that Hamas will no longer be in charge of the territory. The EU designates Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
“Different ideas are being discussed on how this can be ensured, including an international peace force under UN mandate,” she said.
Israeli forces pushed on with intense strikes targeting Palestinian fighters in Gaza on Monday, as the war neared one month’s duration and the Hamas-run health ministry’s death toll approached 10,000 inside the besieged territory.
Determined to destroy Hamas, whose October 7 attack left 1,400 dead in Israel and saw more than 240 hostages taken, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised no let-up despite mounting international calls for a ceasefire.
On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell suggested a plan under which Israel could suspend its military operation in Gaza in return for the Red Cross getting access to captives held by Hamas.
“I think that a humanitarian pause counterbalanced by an access to hostages with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as a first step to their release is an initiative in which we should work,” Borrell told European Union diplomats in Brussels.
“Call it a truce, window, whatever, but we need that violence recedes and that international humanitarian law is being respected,” Borrell said.