European Union (EU) foreign ministers will take part in a series of key meetings on Monday to discuss the ongoing war in Gaza and explore the potential for a future peace deal. Colleagues from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as representatives of Arab countries, will participate in the talks, in what is expected to be a comprehensive dialogue aimed at understanding the perspectives of all parties involved.
However, significant absences are expected, as Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki are not expected to meet directly during these sessions. Despite the absence of a direct meeting, the discussions have significance because they involve key actors in the region.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are also expected to participate in these meetings in Brussels along with their European counterparts. The goal, according to European diplomats, is to gather insight from each side on how to stop the ongoing violence and think about the next steps toward achieving a sustainable solution.
France Presse reports that European diplomats emphasize the EU's commitment to formulating a unified position on the conflict in Gaza. This comes after Germany, traditionally seen as a strong supporter of Israel, rejected calls from Spain and Ireland for an immediate ceasefire.
EU officials outlined their expectations for the post-war scenario, calling for an end to the long-term Israeli occupation, an end to Hamas rule and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as the governing body in the region.
The EU, which is made up of 27 member states, along with the United States, argues that the creation of a Palestinian state is key to achieving lasting peace in the region. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the conservative Likud party, unequivocally rejected the Palestinian state proposal during recent discussions.
Against the backdrop of escalating violence in the Middle East, EU member states provisionally supported the establishment of a naval mission to protect ships in the Red Sea from potential attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels.
The three frigates are slated to defend merchant ships, with the notable distinction that they will not engage in offensive actions against rebels along Yemen's coast, which is at odds with the approach of the US-led coalition operating in the region.
EU ministers are expected to address the issues during a meeting on Monday, with a final decision on the naval mission expected in February.