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Hungary reportedly blocks EU statement against Israel's military operation in Rafah

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto (Photo: Bernadett Szabo/REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that the nation of Hungary, on two occasions, blocked attempts by the European Union to make a consensus statement against the anticipated Israeli military operation against Hamas in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where the bulk of Hamas terrorists are thought to be concentrated.

EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell reportedly tried to unite all 27 member states behind a statement calling for an “immediate humanitarian pause” in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, a move that Israel argues would allow Hamas to regroup and rearm its terrorist elements.

According to the report, Borell eventually succeeded in convincing all EU member states, with one exception – Hungary.

“Hungary stood alone in the EU,” unnamed senior diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who recently attended the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany, reportedly urged his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó to intervene on Israel’s behalf and stop Borell’s diplomatic attempt to tie the Jewish state’s hands in the ongoing fight against Hamas.

The Hungarian foreign minister subsequently informed Katz that Budapest had “prevented it,” a message that Katz then conveyed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Borell’s failed anti-Israel consensus statements have not been made public, the diplomatic sources emphasized that if it had succeeded it would have caused “severe damage” to Israel by removing the “option and possibility of [IDF] action in Gaza,” likely referring to the expected IDF operation against Hamas in Rafah.

Frustrated by Hungary’s opposition, the EU’s foreign policy chief admitted that he failed to achieve a consensus EU statement on the war in Gaza.

“I know that if there is not unanimity, then there is not an EU position,” Borell said. Despite the diplomatic setback, he insisted there is overwhelming European support for his Gaza policy.

“But there can be a position that is based on a big majority, and without being a formal EU position, it is nonetheless a majority position. And 26 out of 27 is indeed a majority position,” Borell assessed.

He emphasized that 26 out of 27 EU member states “are asking for an immediate humanitarian pause [to the war]. That means a halt in military operations, an immediate pause that would lead to a sustainable ceasefire.”

Borell has been a vocal critic of the Jewish state and tends to ignore or dismiss the complex security threats that Israel faces on multiple fronts. In January, Borell blasted Netanyahu for opposing the internationally favored two-state solution.

“Which are the other solutions they have in mind? To make all the Palestinians leave? To kill off them? Borell asked rhetorically while speaking to EU foreign ministers.

“What we want to do is to build a two-state solution. So let’s talk about it,” Borell added, ignoring that both the Hamas terrorist organization and the Palestinian Authority (PA) oppose Israel’s right to exist.

By contrast, Hungary has emerged as one of Israel’s closest allies in the European Union. Both countries share a skepticism towards the EU policymakers in the European capital Brussels.

In January 2023, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán described Israel and Hungary as two “successful conservative countries.”

“Building a conservative community is a tough job. But both Hungary and Israel have some great results already,” Orbán said.

Since early 2023, there were unconfirmed reports that Hungary plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but this has so far not materialized.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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