It's not the time to discuss post-war Gaza, says Palestinian ambassador

Abdelrahim Alfarra says that ideas discussed in Brussels include Gaza coming under UN or Egyptian supervision

Egypt's ambassador to the EU, Badr Abdelatty attends a press conference on the Israel-Gaza war organised by the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in Brussels. Sunniva Rose / The National
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European countries must stop discussing what post-war Gaza will look like and instead focus on calling for a ceasefire and ending the conflict, the Palestinian ambassador to the EU, Abdelrahim Alfarra, has told The National.

There has been no formal EU proposal about how Gaza should be managed after the war, but ideas currently "floating around EU corridors" include the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in the enclave or placing it under civilian Egypt control, Mr Alfarra said.

"The war must be stopped and there needs to be a cease-fire, then we can think about what can be done," said Mr Alfarra.

Mr Alfarra said he was disappointed by the EU's refusal to call for a ceasefire. Its 27 leaders said in a joint statement on October 26 that "humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs" were necessary.

The EU's humanitarian aid chief, Janez Lenarcic, on Monday called for "meaningful" pauses in the fighting in Gaza and the urgent delivery of fuel to keep hospitals operational.

More than 11,000 Palestinians have died in retaliatory fire after a Hamas attack on Israel killed about 1,200 Israelis on October 7. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas after they took about 240 hostages.

Hospitals in the centre of the heaviest fighting in Gaza have been forced out of service amid shortages and fierce combat, according to local authorities.

The EU's 27 countries stated that hospitals "must be protected" and condemned Hamas for using the medical facilities and civilians as "human shields".

The bloc demanded "immediate humanitarian pauses" to allow desperately needed aid into the besieged territory in a statement on Sunday.

Some EU leaders such as France's President Emmanuel Macron have called for a ceasefire but this is not a consensual position among all EU countries.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen suggested last week that an international peace force under UN mandate may be deployed in Gaza once the conflict between Hamas and Israel is over.

Ms von der Leyen also warned that there could be no long-term Israeli security presence in Gaza.

Asked what he thought of such proposals, Mr Al Farra said: "I told Ms von der Leyen's cabinet that it's not the time to discuss Gaza's future."

A representative for Ms von der Leyen told The National that the EU’s position on the conflict has been defined by heads of state and government in the latest European Council meeting.

"The President of the Commission put forward a series of principles for the post-conflict period because it is essential to start thinking about “the day after"," said Eric Mamer.

Egypt's ambassador to the EU Badr Abdelatty also dismissed the idea of discussing post-war Gaza as "ridiculous" at this stage.

"It's ridiculous to talk about the future of Gaza with the continuation of mass killings of civilians," said Mr Abdelatty.

"We will not allow anybody to talk about the day after without addressing the concerns and conditions of today," he added.

Updated: November 13, 2023, 9:26 PM