In a significant humanitarian move, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Monday that Europe would establish a humanitarian air corridor with the Gaza Strip. Von der Leyen emphasized that Palestinians should not bear the brunt of Hamas’ actions, stating, “Israel has the right to defend itself according to international humanitarian law, and at the same time, Palestinians in Gaza need humanitarian aid. They cannot pay the price for Hamas’ brutality.”
The initiative, revealed during a summit in Tirana, Albania, between the European Union (EU) and the Western Balkans, aims to provide immediate assistance to the beleaguered residents of Gaza. The EU plans to conduct several flights to Egypt to deliver vital supplies to humanitarian organizations operating in Gaza. The first two flights this week will transport cargo from UNICEF, including medicines and hygiene kits, to the region.
This action comes in response to the dire situation in Gaza, exacerbated by the recent violent attacks by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas against Israel. The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier warned of an impending catastrophe in Gaza if immediate aid did not arrive within 24 hours.
Since October 7th, a million desperate Palestinians have fled to the southern part of the Gaza Strip, an area under complete isolation due to Hamas’ control and a ten-day-long total blockade. Von der Leyen’s announcement underscores the EU’s commitment to alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people and providing essential humanitarian relief during these critical times.