Europe has duty to host Gaza children impacted by Israel war: Greek foreign minister

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Europe has a duty to host children hurt and traumatized by war in Gaza for as long as the conflict continues, Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis told Reuters on Wednesday.

Gerapetritis is seeking partners in what he hopes would be a project to temporarily bring the children to the European Union, and said he discussed the idea with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa this week.

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“We need to face this tragedy very clearly,” Gerapetritis said. “Europe should be open to injured people from [Gaza] but also to children who are now facing famine or other sorts of dangers.”

Greece was elected as a member of the United Nations Security Council for 2025-2026 earlier this month, and Gerapetritis believes the country’s historical ties with the Arab world give it credibility to act as a peace broker.

The 56-year-old, who has held the post for a year, did not say how many people could be hosted by Greece or the EU but said the issue was under discussion with Palestinian authorities.

Gerapetritis stressed that the initiative was not linked to regular migration, which has become politically sensitive in Europe and strongly opposed by a resurgent right.

“This is an obvious call of humanitarian assistance. We’re not talking here about economic migrants or other types of irregular migration,” he said, days after far-right parties surged in European parliamentary elections.

Greece condemned the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants against Israel but has called for a halt to Israel’s ground and air assault on Gaza that Palestinian authorities say has killed more than 35,000 people and flattened whole cities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says many in Gaza face famine-like conditions and more than 8,000 children under five years old are suffering with acute malnutrition.

In addition, the psychological impact of the war on children is “tremendous,” said Gerapetritis.

Gerapetritis said he talked to Palestinian and Israeli prime ministers this week about ways to seal peace and reconstruct Gaza.

“We shouldn’t wait... for the war to stop in order to start discussing it,” he said. “It is going to be a giant project and we have to develop it as early as possible,” he said.

A Gaza ceasefire would also help reduce attacks on ships by Iran-backed Houthi militants in the Red Sea which has affected Greece’s shipping sector.

“I am relatively optimistic that alongside the ceasefire that we’re hoping to achieve in the very near future, the situation also in the Red Sea will become much better,” Gerapetritis said.

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