Josep Borrell acidly suggests that the US should cut military aid to Israel

European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell made a thinly veiled call on Monday for the United States to reduce arms supplies to Israel, amid heavy civilian casualties in its war in Gaza, Reuters reports.

Josep Borrell Photo: Belga / ddp USA / Profimedia

Borrell recalled that U.S. President Joe Biden said last week that Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack was “exaggerated,” and U.S. and other Western officials have repeatedly said too many civilians are being killed in Gaza.

“Well, if you think too many people are being killed, maybe you should give less weapons to prevent so many people from being killed,” Borrell told reporters after a meeting of EU ministers in Brussels on development aid.

“If the international community thinks this is a massacre, that too many people are being killed, maybe we need to think about providing weapons,” he added.

Borrell also noted that a Dutch court on Monday ordered the Dutch government to block all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel over fears they were used in actions that violate international law in the Gaza war.

Borrell said it is contradictory for countries to repeatedly state that Israel is killing too many civilians in Gaza, but does nothing concrete to prevent the killing.

Israel has insisted it is taking extensive measures to protect civilians, but is forced to conduct military operations in civilian areas because Hamas, the Palestinian militant group responsible for the October 7 attack, operates there.

The United States is Israel’s largest foreign arms supplier. It provides Israel with $3.8 billion in annual military aid, from fighter jets to bombs. Washington has so far not heeded any requests to cut such aid.

Borell criticizes Netanyahu

In his remarks in Brussels, Borrell also sharply criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he was not listening to calls to do more to protect civilians.

“Everybody goes to Tel Aviv, begging ‘please don’t do this, protect the civilians, don’t kill so many.’ How many are too many? What is the standard?” Borrell said, sounding angry and emotional. “Netanyahu doesn’t listen to anyone.”

Borrell said Netanyahu had called for an evacuation of Palestinian civilians from Gaza’s Rafah area – the last part of the enclave where people have found refuge – but the veteran Spanish politician questioned how this could be done.

“They want to evacuate? Where? On the moon? Where are these people going to evacuate?” he said.

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