Josep Borrell said he was “shocked by the human suffering” on both sides of the conflict
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged the Israelis not to do so “Consumed by anger.” regarding the deadly Hamas attack on October 7, arguing that one act of violence cannot justify another.
Speaking during his first visit to Israel since war broke out between Israel and Palestinian militants last month, Borrell expressed solidarity with the Jewish state, but called on Israeli forces to exercise restraint in their ongoing incursion into Gaza.
“I understand your anger, but let me ask you not to be consumed by anger.” he said adding “Gaza is not far from here. One horror does not justify another.
After arriving in Israel on Thursday, Borrell toured Kibbutz Be’eri, which witnessed heavy fighting during a surprise Hamas attack last month. Israeli officials say the Palestinian armed group killed 130 community residents on October 7.
“I know what a kibbutz means to Israelis.” The EU official continued, referring to the time he lived in a kibbutz, a type of agricultural community, in the 1960s
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who traveled to Be’eri with Borrell, reiterated his government’s position that Hamas ultimately bears full responsibility not only for Israeli casualties, but also for Palestinians killed in Israeli retaliatory raids in Gaza.
“There is only one person responsible for these atrocities, for the October 7th massacre, for the world that began after that and for the suffering of the people in Gaza – Hamas, which is sponsored by Iran.” Cohen said.
More than 11,500 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air and ground operations in Gaza, in addition to thousands wounded, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Israeli officials say about 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage during the Hamas attack, including a number of foreign nationals.
Borrell also pledged to discuss the plight of the Palestinians in an upcoming meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as part of a four-day trip to Middle Eastern countries scheduled to end next Monday. Doha maintains close relations with the political leadership of Hamas, and has worked to secure the release of hostages held by the armed group.