BRUSSELS: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday urged allies of Israel — primarily the United States — to stop sending it weapons as "too many people" are being killed in Gaza.
Pointing to US President Joe Biden's comment last week that Israel's military action was "over the top", Borrell said: "Well, if you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people have been killed."
"Is it not logical?" he asked, in a Brussels news conference alongside Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA whom Israel is pressuring to resign.
"How many times have you heard the most prominent leaders and foreign ministers around the world saying too many people are being killed?" Borrell asked.
The chief EU diplomat slammed an order that the more than one million Palestinians sheltering in the Gaza city of Rafah need to be "evacuated" ahead of a planned Israeli military operation. "They are going to evacuate — where? To the moon? Where are they going to evacuate these people?" Borrell asked.
Meanwhile, the population of the Gaza Strip is suffering "unprecedented" levels of "near famine-like conditions" as the war drags on, the UN's agriculture agency said on Monday.
Some 550,000 people are now likely facing catastrophic food insecurity levels, while the whole population is in crisis mode, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
"There are unprecedented levels of acute food insecurity, hunger, and near famine-like conditions in Gaza," FAO Deputy Director General Beth Bechdol said in an interview published by the Rome-based agency.
"We are seeing more and more people essentially on the brink of and moving into famine-like conditions everyday," she said.
All 2.2 million people in Gaza are in the top three hunger categories, from level three, which is considered an emergency, to level five, or catastrophe, she said.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) rates hunger levels from one to five.
"At this stage, probably about 25 per cent of that 2.2 million are in that top-level IPC five category," Bechdol said.
Israel has raged with a relentless bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza that the territory's health ministry says has killed at least 28,340 people, mostly women and children.
Rafah, on Gaza's southern border with Egypt, has become a last refuge for fleeing civilians.
Many are sleeping outside in tents and makeshift shelters amid mounting concern about lack of food, water and sanitation during an Israeli siege. — AFP