EU voices "shock" at Israel artillery strikes in Gaza

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday November 8, 2006

Brussels/Helsinki- The European Union said it was "shocked" and "appalled" at Israel's deadly artillery strikes in northern Gaza which killed at least 19 Palestinians, including five women and seven children. Finland, current holder of the EU presidency, issued a statement saying it was "appalled at the continuing killing of civilians due to the ongoing Israeli operation in Gaza."

It urged "Israel to end its military action in Gaza" and called on "the Palestinians to stop firing rockets onto the Israeli side."

The Finnish EU presidency said that "the spiral of violence will only have serious consequences for the security and political situation in the region."

Earlier, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Israel had a right to defend itself but warned that this was "not at the price of the lives of the innocent."

"It is very important for all parties to exercise utmost restraint and limit themselves to actions which are proportionate and in accordance with international humanitarian law," said Ferrero- Waldner.

The commissioner said the killing of so many civilians in Gaza, including many children, was a "profoundly shocking event."

"At this critical juncture all sides have a responsibility to give dialogue a chance," she urged.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency