European Union nations pushed Tuesday for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and gathered their foreign ministers in Paris for an urgent meeting on the crisis in Gaza.
Germany's foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, spoke with Israeli, Egyptian and Syrian officials to explore the possibility of a "humanitarian cease-fire" in Gaza, his ministry said. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also said the EU must maintain calls for a cease-fire and examine the need for humanitarian aid in Gaza. Norway announced it was giving 30 million kroner ($4.3 million) in immediate humanitarian aid for Gaza residents.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner spoke Tuesday to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to push an immediate cease-fire to allow aid and medical help into Gaza, and to evacuate the wounded, his ministry said. The proposal was being discussed at the Paris meeting.
The European Commission asked Israel to allow relief workers into the Gaza area. In a statement Tuesday, the European Commission asked Israel "to open up the humanitarian space" so aid and relief workers can reach the Gaza area.