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Von der Leyen announces increase in aid to Gaza

Von der Leyen announces increase in aid to Gaza

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The EU is increasing the amount of money in humanitarian aid it is sending to Gaza, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday. 

“I can announce that we are further increasing the humanitarian aid to Gaza by another €25 million,” she said, speaking at the annual meeting of the EU’s diplomatic body. Von der Leyen said that “two weeks ago we had already tripled our aid to Gaza.” This new announcement takes the European Union’s spending on humanitarian assistance for Gaza to over €100 million this year.

Israel has been striking the densely populated Gaza Strip in reaction to an attack by Hamas on October 7 in which 1,400 people were killed and 240 taken hostage. Hamas-controlled health authorities in Gaza say more than 9,770 Palestinians have been killed since Hamas’ attack. 

Israel is facing increasing international pressure to limit civilian casualties after it rejected on Sunday growing calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, arguing that there will be no cease-fire without the return of hostages. 

In her speech, von der Leyen, who has been criticized for not publicly calling for Israel to follow international law in its war on Gaza, stressed among other points that “while Israel has the right to fight Hamas, it is also essential that it strives to avoid civilian casualties.”

EU leaders at a recent meeting stressed the need for “humanitarian corridors and pauses” for humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinian population.

Speaking at the same conference, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, stressed the need for international law to be applied and to avoid civilian casualties. He proposed that a “humanitarian pause, counterbalanced by access” to hostages by the Red Cross as a first step toward their release, “is an initiative [toward] which we should work.” 

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