An Israeli flag flies outside the EU building earlier this month
An Israeli flag flies outside the EU building earlier this monthSpokesperson

The leaders of the European Union's member states will meet later on Thursday in Brussels to discuss the Israel-Hamas war and discuss the possibility of issuing a joint call for a "humanitarian pause" to allow more emergency aid into the Gaza Strip,

Since the beginning of the war, the leaders of the EU nations have been divided, with some supporting Israel and its right to defend itself. In contrast, others expressed support for the Palestinians and called on Israel to allow essential goods to enter the Gaza Strip and to enact a ceasefire.

The latest draft of the summit's conclusions, which was published by Euronews, states: "The European Council expresses its gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calls for continued, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including a humanitarian pause."

According to Euronews, ahead of the meeting, diplomats discussed alternative wordings, like a "humanitarian window" and a "humanitarian ceasefire." However, the term "ceasefire" was considered too drastic by some countries, like Germany and Austria.

"We need to find a middle way between those leaning towards an outright humanitarian ceasefire, which is a general stop of the fighting, and those who think Israel is still entitled to defend itself against attacks from Hamas and that is too soon to speak about a ceasefire," said a senior EU diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"So a pause can be envisaged as a series of interruptions that can allow humanitarian aid inside Gaza," the diplomat added. "It's a bit semantic."

The leaders will also call on Hamas to "immediately release all hostages without any preconditions" and warn regional actors against fuelling an "escalation" of violence.