The European Union's foreign policy chief warned Sunday of a spiral of violence amid Israel's intensifying attacks on Gaza, which are leading to an escalating civilian death toll in the besieged enclave.
Speaking in Bahrain at a joint press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Josep Borrell said "there is no hierarchy between horrors. One horror does not justify another horror. And the pain that you inflict on the children of others will not justify, never, will not compensate the pain your children have been suffering. On the contrary, it will create a violent spiral that will come once again unless we get a peace, a sustainable peace," in reference to the attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7 and ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza in response.
Turning to the UN Security Council's recent adoption of a resolution calling for "immediate, urgent and sustained humanitarian pauses" in the fighting, he said: "I want to remind that the decisions of the UN Security Council are not just words. They are compulsory. They have to be implemented."
Drawing attention to the deaths of civilians in Gaza, including women and children, Borrell said he insisted on respect for international humanitarian law and maximum restraint against civilians in his meetings with Israeli officials.
"But the number of casualties, in particular the number of children, makes us believe that much more needs to be done in order to preserve the lives of civilians."
He particularly thanked Qatar for its "diplomatic efforts regionally and internationally."
"Qatar has emerged as a key go-to mediator, and not only in the Middle East. In many other crises," he added.
The death toll in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 has reached 13,000, including over 5,500 children and 3,500 women, the media office in the besieged enclave said on Sunday.
The number of injuries has exceeded 30,000, with more than 75% of them being children and women, it said in a statement.
The administration said the number of missing persons crossed 6,000, with most of them suspected of lying under the rubble of fallen buildings.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques and churches, have either been damaged or destroyed in Israel's relentless strikes on the besieged enclave.
An Israeli blockade has also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity and water supplies and reduced aid deliveries to a trickle.
Israel has rejected growing calls for a cease-fire until the release of hostages held by Hamas.