11th Dec 2023

No evidence EU aid went to Hamas, says Israel ambassador

  • UNRWA, the UN agency in Gaza, says people will start dying without water (Photo: UNRWA)
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There is no evidence Hamas received EU aid, says Haim Regev, Israel's ambassador to the EU and Nato.

"We do not have any evidence that EU passes anything to Hamas. We don't," Regev told reporters in Brussels on Thursday (19 October).

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The comments follow concerns that Hamas, a militant group recognised by the EU as a terrorist organisation, had somehow directly or indirectly benefitted from EU funded projects in the Gaza Strip.

The EU is the occupied territories' largest international source of aid, with some €300m annually, amid plans to review all the funding.

And the EU has since the start of the current Israel-Hamas war tripled its humanitarian assistance to over €75m to support civilians in need in Gaza.

It comes amid an unfolding humanitarian disaster of over two million Palestinians trapped in Gaza and under an Israeli siege described by the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, as illegal.

Regev appeared to dismiss such statements, telling reporters that most people believe Israel has not committed any crime.

"Right now from our perspective there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. There is water," he added.

The comment stands in sharp contrast to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which operates in Gaza.

On Wednesday it said people will start dying because they have no water.

"The water crisis continues due to the inability to bring in much needed fuel, which is needed to operate water pumps and desalination plants," it said.

A convoy of some 20 trucks carrying humanitarian relief is also set to enter the Gaza Strip at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

The ambassador said the aid will be allowed to pass. But for the Israelis, the help is also a leverage against Hamas to release the 203 Israeli hostages, amongst them many babies, children and women.

"Of course not letting people starve, but it is a leverage that needs to be used," said Regev.

And he dismissed reports of Israeli bombing humanitarian convoys as propaganda.

He said the ultimate aim for the Israelis was to eliminate Hamas and release the hostages.

"We have no interest to stay in Gaza," he added.

Hamas has also accused Israel of killing hundreds of innocent people with a rocket attack at the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza city. Israel rebuts the accusation, citing the absence of a large crater at the site of the damage.

And Regev dismissed any immediate independent investigation to confirm the facts on the ground.

"We have proof. We are in war and this is not the time to start an international investigation.," he said.

The statements come amid a European Parliament resolution, also on Thursday, condemning Hamas attacks on Israel.

The MEPs also want a humanitarian pause of the fighting, while noting an increase in anti-semitic speech, rallies and attacks against Jews since the Hamas terror attack on 7 October.

The point was highlighted to reporters by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association in Brussels.

"The level of anti-semitism in Europe increased by 1,200 percent," he said.

Margolin said European governments need "to wake up" to the spike in threats against Jews in Europe. "The fact is that the two million Jews in Europe today no longer feel safe on this continent," he said.

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