5:13 PM ET, October 17, 2023
Commission chief says EU can stand united with Israel while helping Palestinians
From CNN’s James Frater and Leanne Collirin
The European Union is working with Egypt to provide aid to those fleeing the conflict in Gaza, according to the head of the European Commission.
Ursula van der Leyen said the commission was liaising with authorities in Egypt to try to get humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The commission is “establishing an airlift to Egypt near Gaza to facilitate rapid delivery of aid across the border.”
“We are explaining to the Israeli authorities that it is necessary to supply water to Gaza. It is a basic human right,” he added.
He said such moves would not affect the EU’s position on the latest attacks by Hamas on October 7.
“There is no contradiction in standing in solidarity with Israel for the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians,” van der Leyen said.
“Egypt has made it very clear in many political and diplomatic communications that it does not want to open its border with Gaza,” European Council President Charles Michel said on Tuesday.
“But we are working with all the leaders in the region to arrange the evacuation of the foreign nationals. We are also working with all the leaders in the region to make humanitarian access possible to provide the people in need and meet their basic needs,” he added.