Following the latest events in the Gaza Strip, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, has said:
"We are alarmed by the ferocity of the recent clashes in Gaza. The sharp deterioration of the living conditions in Gaza, combined with the lack of a political or economic perspective, has contributed to a widespread feeling of despair. That is a contributory factor in the development of extremism and violence.
The population has already suffered for far too long. I support the call of President Abbas and Prime Minister Haniyeh for an immediate end to this violence. I encourage all groups to resolve their differences via dialogue not violence.
Since the formation of the national unity government in March 2007 we have stepped up our assistance to the Palestinians. Now is not the time to give up on national unity, both in the government and in the security sector. I call on both Hamas and Fatah to invest all their energy in this coalition. "