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EU boosts humanitarian assistance for Palestinians to €34 million

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By Chantal Da Silva
Motorists and pedestrians move past a building destroyed by an air-strike prior to a cease-fire between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Gaza City.
Motorists and pedestrians move past a building destroyed by an air-strike prior to a cease-fire between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Gaza City.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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The European Union has boosted its humanitarian assistance to Palestinians by €8 million, taking the bloc's total support this year to €34.4 million.

Announcing the boost in funding, the European Commission said the funding would be dedicated to supporting Palestinian victims of the deadly violence that unfolded between Israel and Hamas earlier this month.

At least 248 people, including 66 children, were killed in Israel's bombardment of Gaza after tensions erupted on May 10.

Hundreds of others were injured before a ceasefire was called last week.

Meanwhile, at least 12 people in Israel were killed amid attacks from Gaza.

In a statement published on Tuesday, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said that "following the announcement of a ceasefire, urgent humanitarian access is now vital, to relieve the suffering of the many innocent victims".

While Lenarčič said the EU was already "maintaining critical support for protection programmes, health care, education, access to safe water and cash assistance", he said "nothing can bring back the many civilian lives that were taken in this latest conflict".

"We are dismayed at the deaths of so many children, including 11 children in Gaza who were benefiting from a trauma care programme supported by the EU," he said.

He further asserted that the EU "insists on respect for international humanitarian law and cannot accept that civilians are displaced by force or that their homes and schools are demolished".

“The European Union welcomes the announced ceasefire bringing to an end the violence in and around Gaza. We commend Egypt, Qatar, United Nations, United States and others who have played a facilitating role in this,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

“We are appalled and regret the loss of life over these past 11 days. As the EU has consistently reiterated, the situation in the Gaza Strip has long been unsustainable… The EU is renewing its engagement with key international partners, including the United States, and other partners.”

The funding announced on Tuesday will include €200,000 in support of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to help deliver immediate assistance to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

It also includes €300,000 to support Palestinians refugees living in Egypt, as well as a contribution of €500,000 million from Italy, the European Commission said.

Since the year 2000, the EU has dedicated at least €818 million in humanitarian assistance to help meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable among the Palestinian population.

In the wake of the war between Israel and Hamas, the EU has vowed to work with international powers to "restart a political process".

As EU leaders continued their summit in Brussels, the bloc reiterated its commitment to the two-state solution - a longstanding proposed framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the establishment of two separate states.