France and Belgium have expressed concern over the high number of casualties in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza due to Israeli attacks.
“We are concerned by the way in which military operations are being carried out by Israel in Gaza, with a very high number of victims, and we are also very concerned by the humanitarian situation which is becoming very critical,” declared the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna at the door. of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
She stressed the need for a “sustainable, long-term truce that would lead to a ceasefire.”
Colonna also expressed concern over Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on October 7.
Israel resumed its military offensive on the Gaza Strip on December 1 after the end of a week-long humanitarian pause with the Palestinian group Hamas.
Nearly 18,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women, have been killed and more than 49,200 injured in Israeli attacks on the besieged enclave since October 7.
Belgium calls for a “humanitarian ceasefire”
Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib also spoke of the “unsustainable” humanitarian situation in Gaza and said: “We continue to advocate for an immediate cessation of hostilities in order to allow a humanitarian ceasefire which we believe hopefully, will lead to the relaunch of peace negotiations.”
Lahbib stressed the need for “humanitarian corridors” to allow aid to flow into Gaza, and also said violence was increasing in the West Bank, where the average number of attacks by extremist settlers against Palestinians has increased. from three to seven per day.
“Belgium has decided to take measures and refuse entry to violent settlers into its territory,” Lahbib said, adding that it would continue its efforts to also ban access to the Schengen area.
Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have reached their highest level since the escalation of the Israel-Gaza conflict on October 7.
Extremists among the settlers have carried out more than 300 violent attacks, killing at least nine Palestinians in the past two months, according to health authorities. Hundreds of Palestinians have also been forced to leave their lands.
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