European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday that the establishment of a Palestinian state would be the best way of ensuring Israel's security, AFP reported.
According to the report, Borrell made the comments during a video meeting with foreign ministers from the EU's 27 countries, after touring the Middle East for talks on Israel's war with Hamas.
The EU's top diplomat said that he had drawn "a fundamental political conclusion" from his discussions across the region.
"I think that the best guarantee for Israel's security is the creation of a Palestinian state," Borrell said in a written summary of the EU meeting.
"Despite the huge challenges, we have to advance our reflections on the stabilization of Gaza and the future Palestinian state," he stated.
In the short-term, Borrell said, after visiting a string of Arab states, that there was a "sense of urgency" over the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza.
"The UN Security Council resolution calling for immediate humanitarian pauses is a big step forward, but we must ensure its rapid implementation," the EU official said, as quoted by AFP.
He also warned that the conflict could further enflame the volatile situation in Judea and Samaria and drag in other actors in the Middle East.
"In light of increased extremists and settlers’ violence against Palestinians there is a real risk that the situation could escalate," Borrell said, adding, "Reports of a ship hijacked by the Houthis are another worrying signal of a risk of the regional spill over."
The EU has condemned Hamas for using "hospitals and civilians as human shields" in Gaza, but has also urged Israel to show "maximum restraint" to protect civilians from the war it is waging against Hamas.
World powers have long advocated for a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Arab conflict, which would see a Palestinian state being formed next to Israel’s borders and leaving it vulnerable to terrorist infiltrations and rocket attacks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has clarified that Israel must maintain "overall military responsibility" in Gaza after the conclusion of the war.
"Once we defeat Hamas, we have to make sure that there's no new Hamas, no resurgence of terrorism, and right now the only force that is able to secure that is Israel," Netanyahu told NPR last week.
He added "there has to be a civilian government there," but declined to say who he thought it would be.
"I think I know who it can't be — it can't be people committed to funding terrorism and inculcating terrorism," Netanyahu stated.