Belgium summoned Israel’s ambassador to Brussels this Friday (2) for explanations after Israeli bombings hit the facilities of a Belgian agency in the Gaza Strip, as part of the military offensive promoted by the country against the Palestinian territory since October.
“Attacks against civil infrastructure violate international laws,” posted Belgian Chancellor Hadja Lahbib. The Belgian building was responsible for providing aid to Palestinians in Gaza. There are no reports of victims of the attack, which reportedly occurred between Wednesday and Thursday.
In an official note, the Belgian Foreign Ministry stated that at the next meeting of European Union representatives, “Belgium will bring up the issue of compensation for damage caused to projects financed by the bloc or its members”, signaling that it will demand it.
The Belgian Foreign Minister reiterated calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, the return of peace negotiations and political negotiations that could lead to the two-state solution, agreed for years.
The circumstances of the attack that damaged the Belgian building are unclear. The diplomatic crisis between Israel and Belgium, however, has intensified since the attacks on Gaza began.
Criticizing the disproportionality of the offensive – which has already killed almost 30,000 people, the vast majority of Palestinian women, young people and children – Belgium was accused by Israel in November of “supporting terrorism”. At the time, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo was on the Gaza border with Egypt following the exchange of Israeli and Palestinian hostages and gave statements condemning “Israeli violence” and calling for “peace in the region”.
Last week, Belgium became one of the only European countries to support South Africa’s case at the International Criminal Court against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
“If the International Court of Justice asks Israel to end its military campaign in Gaza, our country will fully support it,” said Caroline Gennez, Belgium’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Urban Policy, on social media.
Another Belgian minister also spoke out on the matter last Friday: “Today, the Belgian government is in favor of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid and support for the ICJ”, said Ludivine Dedonder, Minister of Defense.
The Israeli massacre against the Gaza Strip began after attacks by Hamas, the group that controls the Palestinian territory, which killed more than a thousand Israeli citizens on October 7. Since then, uninterrupted bombings, cuts in the entry of humanitarian aid, water, food, medicine and fuel have led several countries to classify the offensive as “genocide”.
Editing: Lucas Estanislau