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EU invites Israeli, Palestinian foreign ministers to meeting

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Israel-Hamas War: US, UK impose new sanctions on militants

The European Union‘s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he has invited top diplomats from Israel and the Palestinian Authorities to an emergency meeting. 

After the unexpected Hamas attack, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, and his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Maliki, were asked to join in the hybrid video and in-person meetings, according to Borrell.

The EU has harshly condemned the attack on Israel by Islamist militants but has delivered contradictory signals about the future of its development assistance to the Palestinians.

Brussels reacted angrily to remarks made by EU Neighbourhood Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi on Monday that the EU will immediately cease “all payments” to the Palestinians.

The EU’s executive arm stated that it was assessing hundreds of millions of euros (dollars) in development aid from the EU, the Palestinians’ largest contributor, but that payments had not been blocked.

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According to the European Commission, it is investigating if the financing is indirectly allowing “any terrorist organization to carry out attacks against Israel.”

Emergency humanitarian aid continues to flow to the Palestinians, the bloc said.

However, EU nations are split over development aid for the Palestinians.

Germany, an economic superpower, has already announced a temporary suspension of its development aid to the Palestinians, while France has stated its opposition to withholding EU payments.

Borrell and a group of foreign ministers are in Muscat, Oman, for a long-planned conference with Gulf peers.

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Fears of a regional conflict have grown as Israel prepares to launch a ground assault into Gaza, the packed territory from which Hamas launched its land, air, and sea offensive on Saturday.

The death toll in Israel has risen to almost 900 as a result of the bloodiest attack in the country’s 75-year history, while Gaza officials have claimed 687 people were killed in retaliatory bombings.

Israel stated on Tuesday that it had retrieved the bodies of 1,500 Hamas fighters from communities surrounding Gaza.

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