EU’s top diplomat says Israel will only stop dropping bombs ‘if they don’t have any’

‘Do we have to wait until 50,000 people die to take action’ in Gaza? questions Borrell

Alyssa Mcmurtry  | 09.05.2024 - Update : 09.05.2024
EU’s top diplomat says Israel will only stop dropping bombs ‘if they don’t have any’


“The only way they (Israel) won’t drop bombs is if they don’t have any,” the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell told Spanish journalists on Thursday when asked about the US decision to withhold a weapons delivery to Israel.

His comments came ahead of a public conversation with Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares, where Borrell also applauded Madrid’s impending decision to recognize Palestinian statehood.

“Spain holds a position on Palestine that is, for many, rooted in the principles of defending human rights,” said Borrell during the conversation. “If a few countries make the step, I’m sure more will follow suit. It’s great that those who really believe in a two-state solution are going further than just talking about it.”

On Wednesday evening, Irish broadcaster RTE reported that Spain, Ireland and other member states are considering recognizing Palestine on May 21.

On Thursday, Spain’s foreign minister told journalists he could not confirm the date, but emphasized that the decision is made to recognize Palestine “soon.”

Borrell said Spain and other countries are demonstrating a commitment to human rights in both Ukraine and Palestine, not working with double standards as some European nations are.

“When some of our European colleagues say ‘there are too many deaths in Gaza, what a shame!’ the question is: how many are too many? Do we have to wait until 50,000 people die to take action so it’s not more?” asked Borrell.

On Thursday morning, Oren Marmorstein, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, slammed Borrell’s remarks this week, saying they are a “dangerous mix of ignorance, hostility, and the legitimization of terrorism.”

The statement seems to come as a response to Borrell’s comments on Tuesday, in which he lamented the lack of a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.

“Hamas accepted, Israel rejected and the land offensive against Rafah has started again, in spite of all the requests of the international community,” Borrell told journalists in Brussels.

Borrell is the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and a member of Spain's Socialist Party.

He was Spain's foreign minister from 2018 to 2019.

Since Oct. 7, at least 34,900 Palestinians, including 14,944 children and 9,849 women, have been killed, and 78,514 people have been injured in Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip.

While thousands of dead are reportedly still under the rubble, civilian infrastructure is being destroyed, targeting hospitals and educational institutions where people seek refuge.

Over seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is "plausible" that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and ordered Tel Aviv to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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