The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell openly accused Israel of having financed the Palestinian militant group Hamas, informs POLITICO.
“Hamas was financed by the Israeli government in an attempt to weaken the Palestinian Authority,” Borrell was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper El País. Borrell was speaking at Spain’s University of Valladolid, where the Spanish politician was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied such allegations in the past.
In his speech Friday, Borrell — who is in charge of EU foreign policy — also stressed that creating a Palestinian state is necessary in order to solve the ongoing conflict. “The only solution is to create two states that share the land for which they have been dying for 100 years,” Borrell was quoted as saying. He added that such a solution must be “imposed from the outside.”
The Israeli government pushed back strongly against Borrell’s accusations.
Borrell’s comments came just days before EU foreign ministers are scheduled to hold several meetings with their counterparts from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and key Arab countries in Brussels. The ministers are going to discuss on Monday the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, where Israeli troops have been carrying out a relentless bombing campaign and ground assault for months, and the prospects for a future peace settlement.
At the same time, the EU is set to announce new sanctions on Hamas designed to hit the financing sources of the militant group, three EU diplomats told POLITICO.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza — on the condition that Hamas be dismantled and all hostages released. The resolution came just days after Israel’s Netanyahu dismissed the idea of independent Palestinian statehood, thereby rejecting a push for a Palestinian state by the United States and the EU.