Statement by the High Representative on Palestinian citizens killed during a transfer of aid supplies

Last Thursday, over a hundred civilians were killed and many other wounded when desperately trying to get food from a convoy, many of them victims of the Israeli army fire during the ensuing stampede. The firing by Israeli soldiers against civilians trying to access foodstuff is unjustifiable.

We request an impartial international investigation on this tragic event allowing for a clear picture of the events and responsibilities. In any case, it is Israel’s responsibility to comply with the rules of international law and to protect the distribution of humanitarian aid to civilian populations.

The responsibility for this incident lays on the restrictions imposed by the Israeli army and obstructions by violent extremist to the supply of humanitarian aid.

This very serious incident reveals that the restrictions on the entry of humanitarian assistance contribute to create scarcity, hunger and disease, but also a level of desperation that brings about violence.

Unabated fighting and disregard for international humanitarian law will lead to complete chaos making the distribution of humanitarian aid impossible.

The European Union has repeatedly condemned in the strongest possible terms the barbaric terrorist attacks committed by Hamas and other terrorist groups on October 7, 2023. We have repeatedly stated the right of the State of Israel to defend itself within the limits of International Humanitarian Law. We will continue asking for the release of all hostages and supporting the work of those directly involved in the negotiations to that end.

All that is compatible with the need to restore a minimum of order and security in Gaza to preserve a humanitarian space. We condemn the restrictions imposed by Israel on the entry of humanitarian aid and on the opening of crossing points. We urge Israel to fully cooperate with the UN agencies and other humanitarian actors involved in the humanitarian response and to allow free, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access through all crossing points. We urge Israel to remove immediately the obstacles at Kerem Shalom crossing, and open the access in the north at Karni and Erez crossings, to open the port of Ashdod to humanitarian aid and to allow a direct humanitarian corridor from Jordan. Air drops should be the solution of last resort as their impact is minimal and not devoid of risks to civilians.


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