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Efforts to end the war between Israel and Hamas

Efforts to end the war between Israel and Hamas

Delegations from European Union member states, Middle Eastern countries and North African states met in Barcelona on Monday to demand an end to the war between Israel and Hamas. The meeting was dominated by calls for an end to fighting in the Gaza Strip, while Palestinian officials called for an extension to the ceasefire.

Calls for an end to the war between Israel and Hamas were the focus of the meeting of 42 European Union, Middle East and North African states that participated in the meeting organized by the Union for the Mediterranean.

"Nothing can justify Hamas's brutality against civilians on October 7, but one horror does not justify another horror," said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. "The pause must be extended, made sustainable and long-lasting , while working for a political solution. A political solution would enable us to break the cycle of violence once and for all. The longer we allow the extremists to set the agenda, the more extremism will spread, not only in the region, but there will be consequences for us in Europe as well."

Israel is not participating in this forum, which in recent years has served as a platform for cooperation between the European Union and the Arab world.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian foreign minister also called for the continuation of the current four-day ceasefire, which expires today.

“The ceasefire came into force after 15,000 deaths. If the war resumes tomorrow then the death toll will double, because the density of the Palestinian population has doubled. All are concentrated in the south of the Gaza Strip, 2 million people in half of the territory. Twice as many children would now be killed by Israeli attacks. Therefore, it is important for us to extend the ceasefire as much as possible," declared Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Malki.

The meeting, which is being held in Barcelona, ​​was chaired by European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell and Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi.

"Stopping the bloodshed, returning the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, excluding Hamas, which should have no role in the future, and implementing the plan with the creation of two states, is the solution. Today, in Barcelona, ​​we must prove that we are able to state these issues together, with conviction and clarity,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.

The pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas continued today, on the fourth day.
So far, the parties have not clarified what is expected to happen after Monday, when the temporary pause in fighting expires.

"Israel must be held accountable for the crimes it has committed. If not through sanctions, then by forcing them to change their approach. If we want to avoid violence and death and offer hope for a more peaceful and stable future for the people of our region, we must make efforts to overcome this current crisis and move towards a serious plan for peace. There is no sustainable alternative but to revive the two-state solution," said Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud.

Outside the meeting place, a small group of protesters were chanting and holding Palestinian flags.

"In 2008, in 2020, 2021, 2022, Israel always does the same thing. It doesn't stop. I don't think this meeting will be able to stop him. It takes strength and commitment to say no. Because enough has been done," said Palestinian protester Haia Alau.

On the eve of the meeting, Jordanian Minister Safadi said he hopes the talks will "narrow the gap" between the Arab and European states so that their call for a humanitarian pause in Gaza will turn into a call for a ceasefire.

The Union of the Mediterranean is an intergovernmental organization established by the 27 EU states and 16 southern and eastern Mediterranean states, including Israel, the Palestinian territories, represented by the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan./VOA

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