During a video conference on Tuesday, European Union leaders are to discuss the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has left more than 4,000 dead in the past 10 days.
The EU summit is to focus on the bloc’s next steps to avoid a regional escalation of the conflict and security consequences for the bloc, European Council president Charles Michel said ahead of the meeting.
The talks would also focus on humanitarian assistance for civilians and possible large-scale migration within the region amid Israel’s evacuation order for northern Gaza and its looming offensive.
“The EU has always been and must always be a steadfast advocate for peace and respect for international law,” Mr Michel stated.
The talks also take place against the backdrop of a number of EU citizens still being held hostage by Hamas.
In a joint statement published on Sunday, EU leaders called “on Hamas to immediately release all hostages without any precondition.”
They condemned “Hamas and its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks across Israel and deeply deplore the loss of lives.”
Leaders also stressed “Israel’s right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law.”
The joint statement came after the European Commission first announced it would suspend aid payments for Palestinians before rectifying that humanitarian aid would still be disbursed and increased from some member states.