EU welcomes Hamas-Israel ceasefire, says 'Gaza situation long been unsustainable'
"The European Union welcomes the announced ceasefire bringing to an end the violence in and around Gaza. We commend Egypt, Qatar, [the] United Nations, [the] United States and others who have played a facilitating role in this," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
"We are appalled and regret the loss of life over these past 11 days. As the EU has consistently reiterated, the situation in the Gaza Strip has long been unsustainable."
The statement insisted that "only a political solution will bring sustainable peace and end once for all the Palestinian-Israeli conflict".
"Restoring a political horizon towards a two-state solution now remains of utmost importance. The EU is ready to fully support Israeli and Palestinian authorities in these efforts," it said.
"The EU is renewing its engagement with key international partners, including the United States, and other partners in the region, as well as with the revitalised Middle East Quartet, to this end."
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, appeared to be holding Friday after 11 days of Israeli bombing in Gaza that pounded the Palestinian enclave, plus Hamas rocket fire which forced countless Israelis to seek shelter from rockets.
Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, and have wounded another 1,900, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry.
The Israeli army said Hamas and other armed Islamist groups in Gaza have fired more than 4,300 rockets towards Israel, claiming 12 lives, including two children.