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December 12, 2023

After a Foreign Affairs Council meeting yesterday, and the forthcoming European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday, ActionAid is urging Europe to take the opportunity to act and show global leadership on a crisis in the wake of the United States vetoing a ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council last week.

The European Union and its member states must take all feasible measures to ensure all parties comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, while simultaneously taking concrete steps towards delivery of a just and durable solution in the occupied Palestinian territory and the wider region.

Without such action, the horrific level of violence and suffering seen throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in 2023 is destined to continue.

Javier Garcia, ActionAid’s Head of Europe and Americas, said:

“It is a critical moment for the crisis millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are facing. With 9 out of 10 people in Gaza going without food today, the European bloc should step up and show leadership on the world stage where it has been severely lacking. Leaders from Ireland, Spain, Malta and Belgium in a joint letter have urged Charles Michel and the European Council to back a new ceasefire, joining millions of people around the world who are taking to the streets, signing petitions and urging an end to the violence that has taken so many lives in a few short weeks. Inaction or ambiguity on the issue will just show this great institution as being out of step with the people. Its very credibility is at stake.”

Possible measures could include a review of existing relations, including an assessment of alleged serious violations of international law by Israel, such as Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, under which mutual respect for human rights is a requirement for the Agreement’s continued application.

Karol Balfe, CEO of ActionAid Ireland, said:

“We welcome the letter from European Heads of Government from Malta, Ireland, Belgium and Spain. This is an important demonstration of much-needed leadership in pushing for meaningful action to get aid into Gaza, achieve a ceasefire, bring an end to settler violence in the West Bank, and focus on the need for a long-term political solution. News from the Foreign Affairs Council meeting yesterday on a new proposal to sanction settlers under the global human rights sanction regime is welcome, but it must be part of a range of measures to stop the violence and bring justice and peace according to the UN resolutions. The pain of people in Gaza is unbearable. Failure to stop the violence will undermine the very principles the EU is built upon. The situation in Gaza is beyond catastrophic, and we need more action.”

ActionAid hopes that the EU will be able to show the global leadership so desperately needed in compassion for all those suffering rather than condemn them to yet more death, disease, and destruction.


For media requests, please email or call 704 665 9743.

Spokespeople are available:

  • Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director of ActionAid USA
  • Javier Garcia, ActionAid International’s Head of Europe and Americas
  • Karol Balfe, CEO of ActionAid Ireland

About ActionAid   

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.  

Support Palestinians in crisis

As the human rights of people in the occupied Palestinian territories continue to be abused, women and children are especially at risk. Gaza faces a dire lack of medical facilities, schools, and homes, as so many have been hit by Israeli airstrikes. ActionAid works in communities near the border with Israel that have been most directly affected by the violence. ActionAid's women-led response is supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities.