On October 7, Hamas launched a massive surprise attack on Israel (see Clarke, 2023). The Commission’s response so far has been a rare display of internal disunity, as Commissioner Várhelyi (2023a; 2023b) announced on October 9 that the EU would review and immediately suspend all aid to Palestine only for Commissioner Lenarčič (2023) to contradict him, saying that humanitarian aid would continue for as long as needed. Later, on October 9, the European Commission issued a statement confirming that it will not suspend aid, but that it is launching an urgent aid review (2023).
The latest chapter in Israel and Palestine's long history is unfolding as tensions soar to unprecedented levels. On 7 October 2023, Hamas initiated a surprise attack into Israeli territory, launching thousands of rockets and breaching Israel’s fortified barrier that separates it from the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The attack marks Hamas’s most sophisticated and coordinated operation in recent memory, overwhelming Israel’s notorious Iron Dome missile defence system. At the same time, armed militants flooded checkpoints and bulldozed through Israeli fortifications (BBC, 2023a). These militants then proceeded to move through the breaches into Israeli territory in the day’s early hours, where they went on to brutally assault up to 27 different locations, ostensibly shooting on sight at civilians and military personnel alike (BBC, 2023a).