European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on Wednesday that the terrorist group Hamas’s killing of over 1,000 Israeli civilians in a massive assault on the country was a coldblooded act of war and reflected an ‘ancient evil’.
‘We have to be clear in defining this kind of horror,’ she said. ‘And there can only be one response to it. Europe stands with Israel. And we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself.’
On Saturday, 1,500 Hamas terrorists stormed Israel’s border around the Gaza enclave and murderously rampaged through southern areas, taking over communities and killing the men, women and children they found, as well as overrunning military sites, with similar deadly results. The toll from the bloody assault, which came alongside a widespread barrage of rockets fired at towns and cities across Israel, swelled to more than 1,200 dead by Wednesday, the vast majority of them civilians.
Among the dead were children, babies and entire families. At an outdoor music festival, surrounded by the attackers, 260 people were systematically mowed down. In addition, the terrorists abducted around 150 people of all ages, including children and elderly women, dragging them back to Gaza as captives.
Israel retaliated with artillery and airstrikes, and officials from the Hamas-controlled health ministry estimated more than 900 Palestinian dead by the fifth day of ferocious fighting. Israel says it is targeting terrorist infrastructure and all areas where Hamas operates or hides out, while issuing evacuation warnings to civilians in regions it plans to attack.
The EU and its member states have responded with expressions of solidarity with Israel and furious disgust at Hamas’s assault. ‘It is terrorism. And it is an act of war,’ von der Leyen said.
‘Hamas terrorists killed women and children in their homes. They hunted hundreds of young men and women who were celebrating life and music,’ she told the European Commission.
‘They took hostage hundreds of innocents, whose fate is still unknown,’ she added. ‘These innocents were killed for one single reason: for being Jewish and living in the State of Israel. It is an ancient evil, which reminds us of the darkest past and shocks all of us to the core.’
But the EU has also expressed concern that Israel keep its response within the limits of international law.
International Law and EU Aid to Palestine
Addressing the start of a meeting of EU commissioners on Wednesday, Ursula von der Leyen also supported a full review of the EU’s multi-million-euro financial support for Palestinian projects.
‘Our humanitarian support to the Palestinian people is not in question. Yet it is important that we carefully review our financial assistance for Palestine,’ she said.
‘EU funding has never and will never go to Hamas or any terrorist entity. So we will now again review the entire portfolio in light of an evolving situation on the ground,’ she added.
At the dawn of Shabbat, last Saturday, the whole world woke up in horror.— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) October 11, 2023
The terrorist attack by Hamas is an act of war. And we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself.
Europe stands with Israel in this tragedy.