The European Commission is to take “time-out” on its talks with Israel on upgrading relations. The head of the Commission delegation to Israel announced that the decision was taken in light of the current conflict in Gaza.
But a leading international church development agency says that a more definitive stance is needed.
"Christian Aid believes this is a missed opportunity; it gives the appearance of a face saving device, rather than a clear EU condemnation of the situation in Gaza," says Janet Symes, Christian Aid’s head of Middle East Region.
She continues: "The EU cannot extend further benefits of European partnership to a government that violates international humanitarian law and refuses negotiation in favour of continued violence.
"Christian Aid believes that both parties to the conflict must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law," continues Ms Symes.
Christian Aid says that only an immediate ceasefire and the opening of the Gaza crossings will alleviate the catastrophic situation in Gaza and provide real security for both sides.
"Priority must be given to ensuring an immediate cessation of hostilities, followed by a negotiation of the terms. Each hour spent negotiating the terms of a ceasefire without implementing it costs further loss of life and intensifies the humanitarian crisis," says Ms Symes.