Josep Borrell has sharply criticised the Biden administration for lamenting the growing death toll in Gaza while, at the same time, providing Israel with weapons to prop up its military campaign.
Speaking in Brussels on Monday, hours after Israeli forces bombarded the southern Gazan town of Rafah, the EU’s foreign policy chief called on Washington to stop pleading with Israel to cease the killing of civilians and to start “doing something” instead.
“How many times have you heard the most prominent leaders and foreign ministers around the world saying: ‘Too many people are being killed’? President Biden said: ‘This is (over) the top’,” Borrell said, referring to Biden’s recent remarks.
“Well, if you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people being killed.”
“It is a little bit contradictory to continue saying that there are too many people being killed, please take care of people, please don’t kill so many,” he went on. “Stop saying please and (start) doing something.”
The reproach came hours after an appeals court in the Netherlands ordered the government to halt deliveries of parts of F-35 fighter jets to Israel for fears Dutch exports could be contributing to violations of international law in light of the ICJ ruling.
The US administration has in recent months bypassed Congress to continue sending weapons to Israel, whilst also calling for restraint in its war in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of some 28,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Senate Democrats have in recent days pushed on the White House to consult Congress before any future arms sales to Tel Aviv, fearing American complicity in the devastation and humanitarian crisis wrecked on Gaza.
President Biden responded to those calls last Thursday with an executive order authorising the cut-off of military aid to foreign governments that do not abide by international law. The memorandum claims to “strengthen” US national security by “reinforcing respect for human rights, international humanitarian law, democratic governance, and the rule of law,” and hopes to “reduce the risk of civilian harm.”
It is estimated that Israel has received more military aid from the US than any other nation since the 1950s owing to a long-standing, bipartisan policy of support.
“If the international community believes that this is a slaughter, that too many people are being killed, maybe they have to think about the provision of arms,” Borrell said.
Data shared with Euronews suggests many more EU countries – including Italy and Germany – have also provided Israel with some of the military equipment and components used in its offensives.
The Delas research centre claims Europeans are together “one of Israel’s main suppliers of military systems and equipment” behind the US, and that member states have licensed military contracts worth over €2 billion to Israel, including for ammunition, weapon firing equipment and components for military aircraft and vehicles.
Organisations like Amnesty International and the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) have long called for a comprehensive arms embargo on both Israel and Hamas.