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EU top official speaks with Israeli president amid tensions

Charles Michel tells Rivlin that priority should be de-escalation and prevention of loss of innocent civilian lives

Agnes Szucs   | 12.05.2021
EU top official speaks with Israeli president amid tensions

BRUSSELS

European Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday held a telephone call with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in which he expressed concerns over the upsurge of violence and called for de-escalation.

The European Union is “very worried by the recent upsurge of violence and indiscriminate targeting,” Michel summarized their conversation in a Twitter post.

“Priority should be de-escalation and prevention of the loss of innocent civilian lives on both sides,” he added.

At least 53 Palestinians were killed and 320 others injured in Israeli airstrikes, according to the latest figures.

Five Israelis have also been killed and 45 others injured by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Tensions have been running high in the region since last week after an Israeli court ordered the evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is seen as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there illegal.

The EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the already existing ones since 2001.

Over the past week, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has also urged both sides several times to de-escalate tensions and to resume negotiations directing towards a two-state solution.

Like Turkey and much of the international community, the EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories it has occupied since 1967.

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