February 2, 2024
February 2, 2024
The offices of the Belgian development agency Enabel have been destroyed after a bombing in the Gaza Strip. The federal government demands an explanation from the Israeli ambassador in our country.
The bombing was reported on Thursday evening by Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib (MR) on X. “Attacking civilian buildings is unacceptable,” she wrote. Photos show how the building has been completely destroyed.
The Enabel offices were located in a six-storey building in Gaza City, in the north of the Gaza Strip. There were no casualties among Enabel employees. Two weeks ago it was decided to evacuate it.
However, the location of the building was known to the Israeli security services, according to government circles. Lahbib, together with Minister of Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez (Vooruit), therefore invited the Israeli ambassador on Friday morning ‘to get to the bottom of the matter’.
Israel has promised to investigate the matter, according to the government. Who is responsible for the bombing? And was the building deliberately targeted? These are questions that our country wants to see answered.
A spokesperson for the Israeli embassy confirmed that an investigation is underway. “We will inform the authorities as soon as we have more information,” it said.
“The destruction of civilian infrastructure is absolutely unacceptable and contrary to international law. Since the first day of the conflict, Belgium has called on all parties to respect international law,” Lahbib and Gennez said in a press release on Friday.
Ministers reiterate their call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties and call for permanent and unhindered access for humanitarian aid and the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages. Belgium also calls for the resumption of the peace process and political negotiations that could lead to a two-state solution.
Our country will put the issue of compensation for the damaged infrastructure of projects financed by the EU and its Member States on the agenda of a next European consultation, it said.
Difficult diplomatic relations
The PS calls for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to meet urgently. “We are outraged by this bombing of a Belgian building, at a time when Belgium has shown courage by not giving in to demands to stop subsidies to UNRWA, as other countries did,” said group leader Ahmed Laaouej.
Diplomatic relations between Belgium and Israel have been difficult since the outbreak of war on October 7. The Belgian ambassador to Israel was previously summoned after a speech by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD), who, according to the Israelis, played too much of the Hamas card.