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EU Set To Discuss Rafah Mission, Borrell Criticises Netanyahu For False Claims Of Antisemitism

EU. Josep Borrell

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc aims to agree in principle to press ahead with an EU border mission at Rafah. Borrell, who was speaking before a monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers, accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of using false claims of antisemitism against the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Revival of EU mission in Rafah

The bloc is considering reviving its European Union Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) Rafah. This has not been operational since 2007 when Hamas seized full control of Gaza.

The Rafah crossing is the main entry point for aid from Egypt. It has been closed since Israeli forces took control of it from the Gazan side nearly three weeks ago.

The civilian mission would need unanimous approval from the 27 EU member states. It was not immediately clear what the role of a revived EUBAM would be. It would have to be adapted to reflect the potentially dangerous nature of such an operation.

Diplomats have said the mission was unlikely to be in place before hostilities in Rafah stopped.

Israel’s reaction to EU mission in Rafah

An Israeli official said, ‘Israel has yet to consolidate a ‘day-after’ plan for Gaza, so there is no formal position on this initiative.”

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“But it is worth remembering that the (Israeli) defence minister, in his Jan. 4 proposal, outlined a multinational force that would be one of the four prongs for managing Gaza once Hamas is defeated. An EU mission in Rafah could potentially dovetail with that.”

Court rulings against Israel

Two international courts, both based in the Hague, have reached decisions opposed by Israel in recent weeks.

The prosecutor of the ICC said he was seeking the arrest of Netanyahu and Israel’s defence minister along with Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes. Meanwhile, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which hears disputes between states, ordered Israel to halt its offensive on Rafah.

Israel has denounced the ICC as a “rogue court” and called on allies to reject it.