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EU's top diplomat asks if Israel wants to kill all Palestinians, as it flouts two-state solution

Israel's foreign minister responded to the European Union's calls for a Gaza ceasefire with an animated video of an artificial island
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki (L) speaks with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell in Brussels, on 22 January 2024 (AFP)

Israel’s foreign minister responded to pressure from European Union diplomats to end the war in Gaza and take steps towards a two-state solution with a futuristic video of an artificial island that Israel would control to monitor aid into war-ravaged Gaza.

According to a video of the plan, the international community would finance the project while Israel would retain overall security control of the island and inspection power of deliveries to the island. The bridge connecting the island to Gaza could be shut down, the video says, if the need arises.

Israel’s top diplomat, Israel Katz, has a history of backing mega-infrastructure projects.

He has long been a proponent of building an artificial island linked to Gaza by a bridge that would serve as a logistics hub and Israeli chokepoint for supplies into the besieged enclave.

During his visit to Brussels, Katz also gave a presentation about a pet project of his that the Biden administration endorsed, before war broke out on 7 October, of a railroad linking Israel to India via Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

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Katz’s grandiose presentation, coming at a time when more than 25,000 Palestinians, mainly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s Gaza offensive underlined the stark disconnect between Israel and the international community.

"I think that the minister could have made better use of his time and focus on the security of his country, bearing in mind the high number of deaths in Gaza,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, told reporters after the presentation.

The war in Gaza is seeping out beyond the enclave's borders.

'Kill them'

European factories are stalling production because of attacks by Iran-backed Houthis on commercial shipping.

Meanwhile, western diplomats are also rushing to avert a wider regional war as Iran and its allies ramp up attacks on US assets and Israel escalates its assassination campaign outside of Gaza.

“The minister showed us a couple of videos that had very little, if not nothing to do with the proposal we were discussing,” Borrell said.

In the delicate world of diplomacy, Katz’s presentation was the equivalent of a snub to the EU’s concerns about the war in Gaza. The Israeli diplomat told reporters that he was in Brussels to focus on returning the remaining hostages taken on 7 October still being held in Gaza, and Israel’s security.

But the grouping of EU foreign ministers was set to meet with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority as part of efforts to convene an international peace conference aimed at ending the war, based on the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complicated those efforts late last week when he openly bragged about opposing a Palestinian state.

Before Monday’s meeting, the EU floated a document among its 27 member states, calling on them to consider imposing “consequences” on Israel if it continues to block Palestinian statehood.

Borrell himself appeared irritated with Israel’s handling of the war and the EU’s concerns.

“Which are the other solutions they have in mind?” Borrell said before meeting Katz, “To make all the Palestinians leave? To kill them?”

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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