Gaza: Statement by the High Representative on Israel’s operation in Rafah

May 16, 2024
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The European Union urges Israel to end its military operation in Rafah immediately. This operation is further disrupting the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is leading to more internal displacement, exposure to famine and human suffering.

More than a million civilians are sheltering in and around Rafah and have been told to evacuate to areas that, according to the United Nations, cannot be considered safe. While the EU recognises Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel must do so in line with International Humanitarian Law and provide safety to civilians.

The European Union is calling on Israel to refrain from further exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza and reopen the crossing point of Rafah. Should Israel continue its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a heavy strain on the EU’s relationship with Israel.

Under International Humanitarian Law, Israel must allow and facilitate unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians. The International Court of Justice made this clear in its orders of 26 January and 28 March. In this regard, the European Union also condemns the attack by Hamas on the Kerem Shalom crossing which has further obstructed the delivery of humanitarian relief. 

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Countries covered:

  • Palestine *
Human Rights