Here in Brussels, the de-facto capital of the EU, a number of public demonstrations have been staged since Israel's military offensive against Gaza started on July 8.
On some occasions the Brussels protests have become heated such has been the frustration at the lack of meaningful intervention from the EU. A temporary ceasefire is now supposed to be already in place between Israel and Hamas but there are calls for a permanent peace deal to be reached. The Israeli pounding of Gaza has already left hundreds of Palestinian killed and many wounded. Many among the dead are children. Besides, hundreds of thousands more have been forced to flee their homes. A 72-hour truce was agreed to allow urgent humanitarian aid into Gaza as basic supplies run out. Israel has the political and military backing of the U.S. and therefore it also has the EU's support. However, because the U.S. has condemned attacks on UN shelters in Gaza the EU now also feels free to do the same. All hopes are now resting on a successful outcome to talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, aimed at finding a permanent end to the conflict. Within the European Union, there has been a growing sense of frustration and even outrage among rights groups as well as citizens toward the bloc’s positions regarding the war on Gaza. They say the EU has not been willing to take a tougher stance against Israel as the slaughter of innocent civilians in Gaza continues. Critics say this once again points to the fact that the EU is under the thumb of the United States when it comes to foreign policy.