EU leaders to call for humanitarian corridors in Gaza as war rages

Gaza aid Displaced Palestinians who fled their houses amid Israeli strikes wait at a food distribution point as they shelter in tents set up in a United Nations-run center following Israel's call for more than 1 million civilians in northern Gaza to move south, in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 26, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. | Credit: MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

European Union leaders are set to call for the establishment of “humanitarian corridors and pauses” to transport aid to civilians into the Gaza Strip as the war between Israel and Hamas enters its third week. 

The European Council “expresses its gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls for continued, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need,” reads the text of a resolution from the EU, set to be presented at a leadership summit in Brussels on Thursday, as reported by Reuters and multiple other media outlets.

The council statement said it was calling for aid access “through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses.” 

“The European Union will work closely with partners in the region to protect civilians, provide assistance, and facilitate access to food, water, medical care, fuel, and shelter, ensuring that such assistance is not abused by terrorist organizations,” the statement said.

Israeli strikes have killed at least 6,500 people in Gaza and wounded more than 17,400, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry reported on Thursday; meanwhile, Israeli authorities say more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas’ initial Oct. 7 attack on Israel. 

Some humanitarian aid has been allowed into Gaza since the start of the war, but the widespread closure of checkpoints into the area has brought about a health crisis for civilians in the region, particularly those who have serious medical conditions, an aid group told CNA recently. 

Aid groups such as Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Aid to the Church in Need, Caritas International, and World Central Kitchen are working to provide families with assistance in the Holy Land and Palestine. CRS has spoken out in favor of “immediate humanitarian access” to the Gaza Strip. 

Religious leaders in Jerusalem have likewise called for aid to be allowed into the stricken region, with Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders pleading with Israeli leaders to “allow humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza so that the thousands of innocent civilians may receive medical treatment and basic supplies.”

Pope Francis first addressed the war in Israel and Palestine on Oct. 8, declaring that “terrorism and war do not bring any solution but only death and suffering for many innocent people.” 

The pontiff has called for a worldwide day of prayer and fasting on Friday, Oct. 27. 

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