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War on Gaza: EU's Josep Borrell calls on states to 'provide less arms' to Israel

Top European diplomat calls on international community to review weapons sales in order to stop civilian deaths in Gaza
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a press conference in Brussels on 12 February 2023 (AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard)
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a press conference in Brussels on 12 February 2023 (AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard)

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, has urged states to stop arming Israel if they want to stop Palestinian civilians being killed in Gaza. 

Speaking on Monday, Borrell was responding to US President Joe Biden's statement that Israel's conduct in its military campaign in the besieged enclave was "over the top". 

"Well, if you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people having been killed," the EU chief diplomate said. "Is [it] not logical?"

Borel was speaking in Brussels alongside Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa. 

"How many times have you heard the most prominent leaders and foreign ministers around the world saying too many people are being killed?" Borrell asked.

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"If the international community believes that this is a slaughter, that too many people are being killed, maybe we have to think about the provision of arms."

The comments came just hours after Israeli air strikes on Rafah in southern Gaza killed at least 67 people. 

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The attacks targeted 14 homes and three mosques in Rafah, Palestinian officials said. Several people told Middle East Eye they were shot by quadcopters inside their tents. 

A displaced Palestinian from Khan Younis, Wesam Abu Jamee, said he lost two of his sons, one of them disabled, in a quadcopter attack that targeted their tent at 1:45 am.

“The bombardment was so intense. My two sons, Wahib (19) and Ilyas (17) got killed inside the tent,” he said. “Ilyas had a mental and physical disability,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel plans to press ahead with a ground invasion of the southern city - where 1.5 million Palestinians are currently sheltering - despite international opposition. 

The premier said that the densely packed city needed to be "evacuated" ahead of the land operation. 

“They are going to evacuate – where? To the moon? Where are they going to evacuate these people?” Borrell asked.

More than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since war broke out on 7 October, a majority of them women and children, according to Palestinian health officials.

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