BRUSSELS, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Josep Borrell, the European Union's (EU) foreign policy chief, called on Tuesday for the "immediate cessation of all violence and implementation of a ceasefire" between Israel and Palestine.
At a press briefing after the EU foreign ministers' video conference on the Middle East situation on Tuesday afternoon, Borrell cited a statement backed by 26 member states but blocked by Hungary's veto as Budapest supports Israel. The EU has thus been prevented from taking a common position on the escalating Middle East conflict.
"The purpose (of the call for a ceasefire) is to protect civilians and to give full humanitarian access in Gaza," Borrell said. He added that the violence in the past few days has led to a high number of civilian casualties, including children and women.
"We condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups on the Israeli territory, and we fully support Israel's right to defense, but we have also considered and stated that this has to be done in a proportionate manner and respecting international humanitarian law," Borrell said.
He said that the security of Israel and Palestine requires a true political solution because only that could bring peace. He called for reopening the political process, exploring reengagement between the conflicting parties, developing confidence-building measures and improving the living standard of the people in order to open a path towards a potential launching of the peace process, which has been in a stalemate for too long.