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Escalation of violence in the Middle East: protect the children

Gaza - Palestine / Israel border

Simon Moutquin (Belgium, SOC), Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, and Theodoros Rousopoulos (Greece, EPP/CD), Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, today made the following statement:

“Children are the ones who suffer most in any conflict – the disaster now unfolding in the Middle East is another tragic proof of this. We are deeply shocked by the loss of human life, particularly children, in the latest escalation of the conflict in the Middle East ignited by the Hamas terrorist attacks of 7 October. The abject murder of Israeli civilians – babies and children, young people enjoying a music festival and whole families in their homes, and the abduction of almost two hundred hostages - cannot be justified in any way. But the response of the Israeli authorities to the aggression suffered must remain faithful to our democratic values, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Hamas must immediately release all hostages, first and foremost children. Hamas and Hezbollah must immediately stop their rocket attacks on the civilian population of Israel. And Israel must allow water, food and power to reach the desperate civilian population of Gaza, immediately stop the barrage of attacks which are indiscriminately killing civilians, damaging hospitals, schools, UNWRA shelters and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, allow the international community to bring humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza, and refrain from using white phosphorus bombs and forcibly displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians. All sides must respect the provisions of international humanitarian law.”