EU’s Gaza peace plan is ‘navel gazing’ – Politico

Brussels’ attempts at peacemaking are about pacifying internal bickering, the news outlet has suggested

Brussels has “no impact” on the situation in Gaza as hostilities between Israel and Hamas continue, Politico wrote on Thursday. The idea floated last week by EU leaders of an international peace conference on the Middle East conflict is undermined by divisions within the bloc and by its irrelevance, the news outlet said.

The proposed gathering would supposedly take place within six months but, a week after it was proposed, little progress has been made in organizing it, according to the report. There are no answers to key questions, such as who would host it and who would be invited.

One of Politico’s sources said the heads of European states were simply “navel gazing” and playing to domestic audiences, as they have few practical options for influencing the Israel-Hamas war or the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

“This is a typical intra-EU discussion which has nothing to do with the reality on the ground,” an EU official said of the summit idea. Unlike the US or Arab nations, Europeans have no real influence on the situation so, “it’s the classical hubris of the EU to think that we have a role to play here.”

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EU staff accuse commission chief of hypocrisy on Gaza – media

“The EU as [an] entity will not be able to carry such a conference due to internal disagreements, but also because it lacks credibility,” according to Erwin van Veen, a senior research fellow at Clingendael Institute, a Dutch think tank.

“The US has no credibility whatsoever due to its unwavering support for Israel,” he added, as quoted by the outlet.

Rifts in the EU over the Middle East crisis have been evident in the internal rebellion against European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. A letter signed by hundreds of European officials and quoted by the media has accused her of giving a “free hand to the acceleration and legitimacy of a war crime in the Gaza Strip.”

EU leaders were also reportedly blasted by non-European nations during a summit in Cairo two weeks ago. They were accused of double standards and hypocrisy due to the contrast in how they reacted to the new crisis, compared to the Ukraine conflict, according to the Financial Times.

The Israeli government has pledged to obliterate the Palestinian militant group Hamas, after it launched a deadly incursion from Gaza last month, killing hundreds of civilians and capturing scores of hostages. Critics said West Jerusalem’s response was taking a disproportionately heavy toll on civilians living in Gaza and amounted to collective punishment of Palestinians.

READ MORE: Israel willing to cause ‘mass civilian casualties’ – NYT

“Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children. It’s a living hell for everyone else,” a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said of the situation on Tuesday.

Palestinian officials have put the death toll in Gaza at over 8,800 as of Wednesday. An additional 130 were reported killed in the West Bank. The Israeli death toll stands at over 1,400.


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