(MENAFN) European Union Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell is facing accusations of double standards after a journalist questioned him about potential violations of international laws in the Gaza Strip.
During an interview with a UAE-based news agency’s interviewer Osman Ayfarah, Borrell provided conflicting answers when discussing the ongoing Israeli military operations in Gaza following the attack by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7.
When queried about whether Israel's bombardment of the enclave amounted to a war crime, the EU official responded that he was not a lawyer and deferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation. He noted that "several countries have asked the court to open a case."
Borrell promptly responded when asked if the EU believed that what Hamas did on Oct. 7 was a war crime.
“Yes, we consider that a war crime, for killing civilians in this apparent way without any reason, killing them just for being there, not for any other reason,” he stated.
Ayfarah replied: “You just told me, when asked about Israel, that you are not a lawyer. How is this clarity in your accusation against Hamas for committing war crimes? And when I ask you about Israel, you say you are not a lawyer, as many Western politicians often do. This is why many accuse you of clear double standards.”
Borrell responded: “No, we do not have double standards. We want to adhere to principles based on what we have witnessed. And personally, yes, that could rise to the level of war crimes. But again, you are right; we should let the International Criminal Court decide that.”
On Monday, Israel escalated its military operations in Gaza against Hamas. The ongoing aerial and ground offensives have resulted in the death of approximately 13,000 people, including thousands of children.
Foreign ministers from the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Indonesia conducted meetings with their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing. This marks the initial phase of a tour to the permanent member states of the UN Security Council, aiming to advocate for an immediate ceasefire and the facilitation of humanitarian aid into the territory.
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