Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen (NCP) held a press conference in Helsinki on 8 November 2023. Valtonen on Monday stated to reporters in Brussels that Finland will deliver four million euros in additional humanitarian aid to Gaza. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

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FINLAND plans to deliver four million euros in additional humanitarian aid to Gaza through the International Committee of the Red Cross, Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen (NCP) confirmed to reporters in Brussels on Monday, according to STT.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs announced the additional aid last week.

Valtonen on Monday refrained from commenting what sort of actions could compel the government to re-think its position on Israel. The government has on the one hand recognised the country’s right to self-defence in the wake of the attack by Hamas on 7 October, on the other stressed that the response must be within the boundaries of international and humanitarian law, and drawn attention to the need for urgent aid to Gaza.

“Israel has been repeatedly urged to act specifically within the boundaries of not only international law, but especially international humanitarian law,” she was quoted saying by the news agency.

With Hamas using civilians as human shields and hiding in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, the situation is challenging, reminded Valtonen.

“This is completely in violation of humanitarian law. And in fact, in a situation where you can demonstrate that such a civilian object has been harnessed for a defensive fight or adopted for military use, it’s no longer a civilian object under law,” she stated.

Analysts such as Gideon Rachman, the chief foreign affairs commentator at the Financial Times, have observed growing unease among western states with the way Israel is executing its offensive in Gaza, in part due to humanitarian concerns and part due to concerns about a broader regional conflict.

Although the Finnish foreign policy administration has repeatedly declared its position on the issue, it remains unclear how and when it would respond to international law violations by Israel.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has reported that a fuel shortage has caused the deaths of 30 people in the al-Shifa hospital. Israel, though, has denied reports of a power outage in what is the largest hospital in Gaza, according to the BBC.

Valtonen on Monday declined to provide any indications about what sort of actions could prompt the foreign policy administration to re-consider its stance on Israel.

Finland has continued to engage in weapons trade with Israel, which confirmed last weekend that it is delivering a missile defence system known as David’s Sling to Finland. Also Finland’s peers have acquired defence materiel from Israel, reminded Valtonen.

“Finland and the Finnish Defence Forces are procuring defence materiel that best meets our needs through thorough tendering and naturally from partners that are viable for our reference groups,” she said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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