Gaza destruction ‘greater than Germany’s in World War II’: EU foreign policy chief

Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the destruction in Gaza due to Israeli bombings was proportionally “even greater” than what Germany experienced in World War II.”The situation in Gaza is ‘catastrophic, apocalyptic’ and proportionally the destruction is ‘even greater’ than what Germany experienced in World War II”, he said.Borrell said he would propose sanctions against Jewish settlers responsible for violence against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Borrell was speaking after EU foreign ministers debated possible next steps in their response to the Middle East crisis triggered by Palestinian militant group Hamas’s deadly October 7 attack on Israel from Gaza.While much international attention has focused on the cross-border assault and Israel’s subsequent war against Hamas in Gaza which killed hundreds of civilians, European officials have also expressed increasing concern about rising violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Borrell said he would propose a special sanctions programme to target Hamas – backed by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy – but EU also had to act against violent Israeli settlers.”The time has come to move from words to actions… and to start adopting the measures we can take with regard to the acts of violence against the Palestinian population in the West Bank,” Borrell told reporters after the meeting in Brussels.UN figures show daily settler attacks have more than doubled since the Hamas attack and Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Borrell said the ministers had not yet shown the unanimous support that would be necessary to pass such a measure but he stressed he had not yet submitted a formal proposal.EU officials would draw up a list of people known for attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and he would then propose they be sanctioned for human rights abuses, he said.Borell did not say what the sanctions would entail but EU officials have said they would involve bans on travel to the EU.Diplomats have predicted it will be hard to get unanimity for EU-wide bans, as countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary are staunch allies of Israel.

But some suggested a decision last week by the United States, Israel’s biggest backer, to start imposing visa bans on people involved in violence in the West Bank could encourage EU countries to take similar steps.To be truly effective, however, any EU ban would have to be enforced across the bloc’s border-free Schengen zone.

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Nestled along the Mediterranean coastline, Gaza stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of a people facing profound challenges. This small strip of land, just 25 miles long and 7 miles wide, has garnered international attention for its complex history, humanitarian struggles, and the unwavering resilience of its inhabitants. In this exploration of Gaza, we embark on a journey to unravel the layers of its narrative, delving into the stories that define its present and shape its uncertain future. From the echoes of ancient civilizations to the pressing issues of today, Gaza beckons us to understand the intricacies of a place where resilience and hope persist against the odds.

Gaza is situated along the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. Specifically, it is a coastal enclave bordered by Israel to the northeast and north, Egypt to the southwest, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. The Gaza Strip is a relatively small territory, measuring approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) in length and varying in width, with a population that has faced significant geopolitical challenges and humanitarian issues over the years, particularly in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.