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October 10, 2023

EU top diplomats to discuss aid to Palestinians

EU foreign ministers are holding an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to discuss the bloc's aid payments to Palestinians.

The EU's aid program for Palestinians currently amounts to €691 million ($730 million).

Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said he invited Israel's Foreign Affairs minister Eli Cohen and his Palestinian Authority counterpart Riyad Al-Maliki to participate in the meeting.

"I have invited [the] Israeli Foreign Minister to join the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers I am convening this afternoon. I have also invited (the Palestinian Authority's] Foreign Minister Maliki to address the meeting and present the views of the Palestinian Authority," Borrell wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said on Monday that it would carry out an "urgent review" of the funding following the weekend terrorist attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by Germany, the EU, the US and several other nations.

Ahead of Tuesday's meeting, Spain said it would oppose any suspension of payments to Palestinians, describing such a move as "counterproductive."

"This cooperation must continue, we cannot confuse Hamas, which is in the list of EU's terrorist groups, with the Palestinian population, or the Palestinian authority or the United Nation's organizations on the ground," Spanish Acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in an interview with Spanish radio Cadena SER.

France, too, said it would not support the suspension of aid that benefits Palestinians directly.

Austria on Monday announced an end to funding for the Palestinian territories, while Germany and Britain said their funding would be reviewed.

Palestinians carry household items from damaged apartments following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City
European Union aid to Palestinians totaled some €691 million Image: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images