In the wake of the devastating bombing by Israel, the European Union is boosting its humanitarian aid to Palestine by €8 million ($9.8 million), the European Commission announced on Tuesday.
The new funding will be dedicated to helping victims of the 11 days of Israeli bombings that started on May 10 and ended last week in a mutual cease-fire.
“Following the announcement of a ceasefire, urgent humanitarian access is now vital, to relieve the suffering of the many innocent victims,” EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic commented on the decision.
“Nothing can bring back the many civilian lives that were taken in this latest conflict,” he said, adding that the bloc was dismayed at the deaths of so many children, including 11 children in Gaza who were benefiting from a trauma care program supported by the EU.
“The EU insists on respect for international humanitarian law and cannot accept that civilians are displaced by force or that their homes and schools are demolished,” added Lenarcic.
The recent addition brings the bloc’s 2021 humanitarian aid budget for Palestine to €34.4 million.
Tensions have been running high since May 4, when an Israeli court ordered the evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
In recent weeks, EU diplomacy has urged both sides to de-escalate tensions and to resume negotiations directed towards a two-state solution.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is seen as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there illegal.
Like Turkey and much of the international community, the EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories it has occupied since 1967.
The EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the already existing ones.