On Sunday, the EU slammed Hamas for using “hospitals and civilians as human shields” in Gaza, while simultaneously urging Israel to exercise “maximum restraint” in order to safeguard civilians from the conflict.
“The EU is gravely concerned about the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
The request was issued after repeated airstrikes struck Gaza’s largest medical institution, Al-Shifa hospital. According to Hamas health officials, one of them demolished its cardiac ward on Sunday.
Another institution, Al-Quds hospital, was shut down due to a lack of generator fuel, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Israel denies striking hospitals on purpose. It accuses Hamas of utilizing the facilities as hideouts, which the Islamist militant group rejects.
“These hostilities are severely impacting hospitals and taking a horrific toll on civilians and medical staff,” the EU statement said.
“The EU emphasises that international humanitarian law stipulates that hospitals, medical supplies and civilians inside hospitals must be protected.
“Hospitals must also be supplied immediately with the most urgent medical supplies and patients that require urgent medical care need to be evacuated safely. In this context, we urge Israel to exercise maximum restraint to ensure the protection of civilians.”
“The EU condemns the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas,” the statement said.
It restated Brussels’ position that Israel had the “right to self-defense in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law.”
The EU has urged for “unhindered” humanitarian access so that supplies can reach Gazans who have been subjected to more than a month of shelling, displacement, and extremely limited access to water, food, fuel, and shelter.
It urged Hamas to free the 240 captives kidnapped by its fighters during the October 7 onslaught on Israeli villages near Gaza, saying it was “critical” that the International Committee of the Red Cross gain access to the detainees.
“The EU joins calls for immediate pauses in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors,” it said.
According to Israeli calculations, the worst Gaza war in history erupted after Hamas on October 7, killing roughly 1,200 people, the majority of whom were civilians.
According to the Hamas government’s media office, Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 11,180 Palestinians, predominantly civilians, including 4,609 children.