EU Foreign Policy Chief Draws Equivalence Between Hamas and Israel, Accusing Both of ‘Massacres’

EU Foreign Policy Chief Draws Equivalence Between Hamas and Israel, Accusing Both of ‘Massacres’
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell draws parallels between Israel and Hamas, condemning both for “massacres” and emphasizing the need for criticism of Israeli actions without being accused of antisemitism.

By Ben Cohen, Algemeiner

The EU’s foreign policy chief drew a moral equivalence between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization on Wednesday, accusing both of having carried out “massacres” while insisting that it is possible to criticize Israeli actions “without being accused of not liking the Jews.”

In a speech to the European Parliament, Josep Borrell — the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy — described the Hamas pogrom in southern Israel on Oct. 7, in which more than 1,200 people were murdered, as the “biggest massacre” of Jews since World War II. However, he added, the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel amounted to “another kind of man-made massacre.”

Reflecting on a trip to the region last week, Borrell — a former Spanish foreign minister who has been at the helm of the EU’s foreign policy since Dec. 2019 — argued that emotions on both sides of the conflict were derailing a political solution.

“It ought to be possible to have a debate about what is going on there without emotion,” Borrell said. “It ought to be possible to recognize the right of Israel to defend itself, but simultaneously for us to be indignant about what is happening in Gaza to civilians. It ought to be possible to criticize the policies of Israel, because countries’ policies can be criticized, without being accused of not liking the Jews. Let’s not jumble things up.”

Borrell also addressed the international failure to deliver the much-vaunted two-state solution as a final resolution of a conflict that has raged for over a century.

“In the past 30 years, since the Oslo agreements, we have been repeating — two-state solution, the solution is two states,” he said. “But we’ve done very little or nothing to bring it about.”

Borrell then asserted that alleged Israeli reluctance to recognize Palestinian national rights was as much of a problem as Palestinian rejectionism.

“We thought that the problem could be compartmentalized, because one side was already peaceful and the other wasn’t,” he stated. “But this drama that has exploded has shown us that there needs to be peace not just between Palestine and Israel but also between Israel and Palestine.”

Acknowledging the differences on the issue among the EU’s 27 member states, Borrell said that his role was to achieve as much of a consensus as possible within the bloc. He emphasized that when it came to Gaza, the EU would object to any solution involving forced displacement of Gaza’s civilians, changes to Gaza’s border, and attempts to divorce Gaza from the wider Palestinian question. In the future, Gaza should be ruled by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), Borrell added, aided by Arab countries and the EU.

Borrell’s speech followed a visit to the region last week. While in Israel, he delivered what the Spanish daily El Pais described as the “most critical message heard so far from a representative of the European Union regarding Israel’s response to the Hamas attack of October 7.”

“Not far from here is Gaza. One horror does not justify another,” Borrell declared at a joint press conference alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, following their tour of Kibbutz Be’eri, where Hamas terrorists murdered at least 130 people and kidnapped dozens more.

“I understand your rage,” Borrell told his Israeli hosts. “But let me ask you not to let yourself be consumed by rage. I think that is what the best friends of Israel can tell you, because what makes the difference between a civilized society and a terrorist group is the respect for human life. All human lives have the same value.”

Borrell said he welcomed the deal announced on Wednesday that will see 50 Israeli hostages seized by Hamas exchanged for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

“After seven weeks of suffering, finally, they will be reunited with their families,” Borrell said, before reiterating a call for the “immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas.”

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