Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Statement on Gaza

The Cypriot foreign minister, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, announced the confirmation of a ceasefire in the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, during a statement to MEPs on 21 November 2012 on the conflict in Gaza.

Speaking on behalf of the EU's High Representative Baroness Ashton, she said a ceasefire was in the interests of both sides, "not least the citizens".

Nearly 160 people have died in the recent violence, the majority in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.

Israel launched its current offensive last week with the killing of Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari.

Air strikes have been carried out on what it said were rocket-storage sites and on Hamas facilities, and a surge in Palestinian rocket-fire into Israel ensued.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a decisive victory in general elections. Israel withdrew from the strip in 2005 but maintains a blockade around it.

Israel, as well as the United States and the European Union, regards Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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