The EU has failed to condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza since the start of the war.
The European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell has described the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel as a “war crime” while refusing to label the brutal Israeli war on Gaza as such, highlighting the EU’s double standards towards Palestine.
In an interview with Al Jazeera Arabic in Doha on Sunday, Borell was asked a range of questions about the EU’s stance on the ongoing war in Gaza.
Presenter Osman Ayfarah asked Borrell whether he regarded the aggression as a “war crime”, to which he responded by saying the matter should rather be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Well, I’m not a lawyer, but there’s an International Court of Justice that’ll investigate and I’ll abide by their decision,” Borrell said in an apparent attempt to steer away from directly answering the question.
Borrell was then asked whether he considered the October 7 Hamas operation ‘Al Aqsa Flood’ as a “war crime”, to which he unhesitantly responded with “yes”.
“Yes, we consider that a war crime, because clearly the killing of civilians for no reason other than because they were simply there,” Borrell said.
In a follow-up question, Al Jazeera presenter explained to Borrell that his response was an example of why the European bloc was being accused of applying double standards towards Palestine.
In backtracking on his initial remarks, Borrell later said that there is a “possibility” that the events in Gaza “could constitute war crimes”, stressing the ICC should be in charge of the investigations on the matter.
‘Evident display of racism’
The interview was quick to circulate on social media, sparking outrage over the EU’s double standards towards Palestinians being massacred in Gaza.
“You are not a lawyer but you are complicit in genocide against the Palestinians,” on social media user said on X.
Another X user said: “There you have it. Evident display of racism and double standards by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.”
The EU has failed to condemn Israel’s crimes in Gaza since the start of the war on October 7 and has not described the atrocities on the ground as genocide against Palestinians.
This is despite the EU defining genocide as “an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.
Since the start of the war, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have killed at least 13,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,710 children—representing 40 percent of the toll.
The EU has also come under fire since the beginning of the war, with activists pointing to the difference in the bloc’s response towards the Russian war on Ukraine and the Israeli war on Gaza.
Last year, the EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen described Russia’s actions in Ukraine as ones that constitute “war crimes” while condemning the targeting of civilian facilities.
However, it failed to do so since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza, where the IOF flattened civilian structures while imposing a complete embargo on the Strip.
In an interview with Spain’s El Pais on October 14, Borrell compared Gaza to Ukraine by saying that entire populations should not be cut off from basic resources.
“We’ve said it in Ukraine, and we say it in Gaza: you cannot cut off water and all utilities to an entire population,” Borrell said at the time, adding that the EU must pressure Israel to comply with international law.
Borrell still condemned Hamas for making “it impossible to find peaceful solutions” while failing to do so with regards to Israel.
More recently, the EU failed to condemn the forced evacuation of Palestinians from Gaza’s hospitals.
Last week, the bloc instead backed Israel’s allegations against Hamas and condemned “the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields” by the group.
The European bloc has also been calling for a “pause” rather than a complete ceasefire in Gaza, echoing similar statements made by Israel’s key allies, namely the United States.
Israel and its allies have justified the onslaught in Gaza as “a right to self-defence” in response to Hamas’ attack of October 7. During the operation, the biggest of its kind in modern history, Palestinian resistance fighters infiltrated occupied territories through air, land and sea while returning with 242 captives.
However, a recent investigation by Israel’s Haaretz found that the IOF killed some of their own citizens at the time during the Nova music festival near the Gaza border.
The investigation found that an Israeli combat helicopter was dispatched from the Ramat David base to target Hamas fighters who had crossed the border from Gaza into Israel. An Israeli police source also confirmed that the helicopter had opened fire on and killed several Israeli settlers attending the music festival.
Hamas responded to Haaretz’s findings in a statement, saying that “the investigation proves that the occupation fabricated lies to justify the extermination of the Palestinians in Gaza.”
“What was published by the Hebrew media, which confirmed that a Zionist warplane bombed celebrations in the Gaza Strip, on October 7, proves beyond a doubt that the occupation government deliberately fabricated lies and false narratives about the events of that day,” the statement read, as cited by Al Araby TV.
The Palestinian resistance group added: “What was stated in the investigation demolishes all official Zionist claims and narratives, which promoted many lies, including the lie of killing children and beheading them, which the occupation could not prove, as well as the burning of civilians.”