The European Union on Wednesday called for an immediate end to the escalation and violence in Israel and Palestine.
“The grave escalation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the major upsurge in violence in and around Gaza, must stop,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
He said that the bloc was “dismayed at the large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries, including children,” and urged all parties to avoid civilian causalities.
“Everything must be done to prevent a broader conflict,” he stressed, adding that “in Jerusalem, the status quo at the holy sites must be respected and freedom of worship guaranteed.”
Borrell sharply criticized both sides, calling “indiscriminate launching of rockets from Hamas and other groups towards Israeli civilians” unacceptable, while urging Israel to be proportionate and show restraint as it exercises its “legitimate need to protect its civilian population.”
At least 56 Palestinians, including 14 children, were killed and over 350 others injured in Israeli airstrikes, according to the latest figures.
Six Israelis have also been killed and over 45 others injured by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Tensions have been running high since an Israeli court last week ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is seen as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there illegal.
The EU has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the already existing ones since 2001.
Over the past week, EU diplomacy has urged both sides to de-escalate tensions and to resume negotiations towards a two-state solution.
Like Turkey and much of the international community, the EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories it has occupied since 1967.