European Union leaders are convening an emergency summit on Tuesday to address concerns regarding the war between Israel and Hamas and its potential impact on inter-communal tensions in Europe, as well as the potential influx of refugees seeking sanctuary.
EU Council President Charles Michel expressed the significance of the conflict for the European Union, stating that it could have significant security consequences for EU societies. In response to the conflict, France has banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and the number of antisemitic acts has increased. Similar low-level rallies have occurred in other EU countries. Both the EU and the United States designate Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The recent bomb threats received by the Louvre Museum and Versailles Palace in Paris prompted the evacuation of visitors and staff. Furthermore, the French government has mobilized 7,000 troops to enhance security throughout the country following a fatal school stabbing by a suspected Islamic extremist.
Germany has also escalated security measures, offering military assistance to Israel and pledging to crack down on support for Hamas domestically. Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized Germany’s historical responsibility for Israel’s security.
Michel highlighted the potential impact of the war on tensions between communities in Europe, as well as its potential to fuel extremism. He also expressed concerns about the risk of migration and large-scale movements of people to neighboring countries.
During the summit, leaders will explore ways to support civilians affected by the conflict in Israel and Gaza. They will also collaborate with other countries in the Middle East and Persian Gulf regions to prevent the conflict from spreading further.
Over one million individuals have already been displaced in Gaza ahead of an expected Israeli ground invasion aimed at dismantling Hamas.
Michel condemned the “brutal terrorist attacks” and affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law.