EU freezes aid payments for Palestinians after Hamas attack on Israel

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission said on Monday it was putting all its development aid to Palestinians, worth 691 million euros ($729 million), under review and immediately suspending all payments following Hamas’ attack on Israel.

“The scale of terror and brutality against Israel and its people is a turning point,” Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, said in a post on social media. “There can be no business as usual.”

Hamas militants killed 700 Israelis and abducted dozens in the deadliest such incursion since the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago, prompting Israel to retaliate with its heaviest ever bombardment of Gaza, which has killed more than 400 people.

Varhelyi said all new budget proposals for Palestinian aid were also postponed until further notice.

“The foundations for peace, tolerance and co-existence must now be addressed,” he said.

“Incitement to hatred, violence and glorification of terror have poisoned the minds of too many,” he added. “We need action and we need it now.”

Earlier on Monday, Austria said it was suspending aid worth tens of millions of euros to Palestinians in response to the attack on Israel to ensure funds were not flowing into the wrong hands, while Germany was reviewing its support.

($1 = 0.9483 euros)

(Reporting by Andrew Gray and Charlotte Van Campenhout; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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