Comprehending The European Union’s Varying Stances on the Hamas-Israel Conflict

EU member countries with pro-Palestine stance

  1. Luxembourg

During an informal joint declaration with 26 other EU member-states, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, Xavier Bettel, expressed how Israel would “lose the last support” the country has if it attacked Rafah. Days prior, Minister Bettel stated that Luxembourg will continue showing support and aid to victims in Gaza through the UNRWA and its other channels. In Ramallah, Minister Bettel had also held bilateral talks with Palestine’s Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh and Foreign Minister, Riad al-Malki to exchange views on Gaza and the West Bank, as well as the expectations for a two-state solution.

  1. Ireland

Similarly, Ireland demanded the European Commission should review the humanitarian conduct of Israel as international pressure grows over Israel’s decision to assault the city of Rafah. Both countries urged for accountability for any signs of violation of international law conducted by Israel. In the same vein, Ireland’s support for Palestine has been strongly magnified since its 29 million-euro package of humanitarian funding per October last year. Additionally, the Irish Prime Minister has called for a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement due to concerns that Israel may be violating the agreement’s human rights clause.

  1. Spain

Spain becomes another EU member-state that has vocally supported Palestine during the course of the conflict. The incumbent prime minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez reportedly became the highest-ranking and most well-known European official who has supported Palestine from the very start, and openly criticized Israel in the occurring dispute. In one of his speeches to his new government, he vows to work on a foreign policy to recognize the Palestinian state even if it is contradictory to the opinion of the  European Union.

EU member countries with pro-Israel stance

  1. Hungary

Out of the 27 states, Hungary was the only member-state to object to signing the joint declaration urging Israel to refrain from attacking the Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Despite regional pressures, Budapest declined to endorse the call– single-handedly obstructing EU plans on imposing collective punishment on Israeli settlers. In recent months, Budapest has threatened to thwart EU foreign policy by using its veto power.

  1. Germany

Germany’s stance towards the armed conflict has been unchanging as the Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues to firmly stand together with Israel in condemning Hamas. His support was consistently shown from the very beginning of the dispute. For instance, during Hamas’ first attacks Scholz immediately calls the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and assures that their response towards Hamas is justifiable considering Israel’s state of security. Furthermore, Scholz has guaranteed that Germany’s place is to be at Israel’s side through one of the government’s statements. Scholz also became one of the first EU leaders that  made a state visit to Israel, followed by his ministers. The cries of support were eventually shown through real actions as the German government was known to be supporting Israel with various military and medical equipment.

EU member countries with neutral stance

United Kingdom

On the other hand, the government of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development office of the United Kingdom (UK) has released a response stating its commitment to support Gaza by delivering various humanitarian aids. This effort is evident by its allocation of an extra 60 million-Pounds in the 2023–2024 financial year–which tripled its previous commitment.

However at the same time, the UK’s Prime Minister has announced military support to Israel in order to support its right of self-defence. Quoting from the Defence Secretary, The Royal Navy Task Group, RAF operations, and broader military assistance will demonstrate the UK’s determination to thwart Hamas’s terrorist activities and defend the Israeli people against those who want to escalate tensions. This sentiment is also supported by the Prime Minister’s statement stating that Hamas poses a danger not just to Israel but also to many other countries in the region, and thus should no longer be allowed to rule in Palestine. 

Authors: Rafa Ammara, Adelia J. S. , M. W. N. Shiddiq

Sources: 

Everett, Mariamne. “As Israel Bombs Gaza, Ireland’s Enduring Support of Palestine Gets Stronger.” Al Jazeera, 17 November 2023, www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/17/as-israel-bombs-gaza-irelands-enduring-support-of-palestine-gets-stronger.

France 24. “26 EU countries call for immediate ‘humanitarian pause’ in Gaza.” France 24. 19 February, 2024. https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20240219-%F0%9F%94%B4-live-israel-vows-to-finish-the-job-in-gaza-sets-ramadan-deadline-for-rafah 

Hanson, Yannick. “Luxembourg keeps money flowing as Western states suspend Gaza aid.” Luxembourg Times. 29 January , 2024. https://www.luxtimes.lu/luxembourg/luxembourg-keeps-money-flowing-as-western-states-suspend-gaza-aid/7699378.html

Jones, Mared Gwyn. “All EU countries, bar Hungary, call for an eventual Gaza ceasefire.” Euronews. 19 February , 2024. https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2024/02/19/all-eu-countries-bar-hungary-call-for-eventual-gaza-ceasefire 

“Ireland, Spain Demand EU Review of Israel’s Human Rights Conduct in Gaza.” Al Jazeera, 14 February 2024, www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/2/14/ireland-spain-demand-eu-review-of-israels-human-rights-conduct-in-gaza. 

“Prime Minister Deploys UK Military to Eastern Mediterranean to Support Israel.” United Kingdon Government, 13 October 2023, www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-deploys-uk-military-to-eastern-mediterranean-to-support-israel.

“Israel-Hamas Conflict: UK and International Response.” The UK Parliament, 20 February 2024, commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9874/.

“Humanitarian Situation in Gaza: The UK Government’s Response.” Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, 26 February 2024, www.gov.uk/government/publications/humanitarian-situation-in-gaza-the-uk-governments-response/humanitarian-situation-in-gaza-the-uk-governments-response