Majority EU countries call for ‘immediate humanitarian pause’ in Gaza: Borrell

All EU countries except Hungary joined a call Monday for an “immediate humanitarian pause” in the Gaza war, foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

The European Union has struggled for a united response on Israel’s military operation following the October 7 attack by Hamas.

But Borrell said foreign ministers from 26 states had agreed a statement calling for “an immediate humanitarian pause that would lead to a sustainable ceasefire.”

The EU countries also reiterated their calls for Israel not to launch an assault on the Gaza city of Rafah, which has become the main shelter zone in the stricken territory.

Hungary is a staunch supporter of Israel and has frequently refused to go along with EU statements seen as critical of the country.

Other EU nations such as Germany have been reluctant until now to call for an “immediate” halt in Israel’s operations. It has not wanted to be seen backing any move that could limit Israel’s right to defend itself.

The war started when Hamas launched its unprecedented attack of October 7 that left about 1,160 people dead in southern Israel, mostly civilians.

Over 29,000 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in the Israel military operation in Gaza, the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory says.

Hamas, considered a “terrorist” group by the United States, EU and other governments, also took about 250 hostages — 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel.

Israel has warned that, unless Hamas frees all hostages, it will push on with its offensive during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, including in Rafah.

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