Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib (MR) and Minister of Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez summoned the Israeli ambassador this morning to express their outrage over the bombing of the office of the Belgian development cooperation agency, Enabel, in Gaza. Belgium “strongly” condemns the “absolutely unacceptable” attack in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
There were no employees in the office at the time of the Israeli attack, according to Lahbib. The Enabel offices were located in a six-storey tower in Gaza City, in the north of the Gaza Strip. The development agency rented one floor of the building. The other floors were rented by Handicap International, among others.
The government decided last month to evacuate the 19 local employees and their families. This has now been achieved for two of them, who have dual nationality. The seventeen others are Palestinians and cannot yet leave the area. Including their families, who may also be repatriated, this amounts to 70 people. “We count on these people, including many children, to be able to leave Gaza quickly and unharmed,” the Foreign Office said.
The destruction of non-military targets is “contrary to international law”, Lahbib underlined again after her conversation with the Israeli ambassador. Belgium will once again insist within the EU that Israel compensates the damage it causes to projects of the EU and EU countries in the Gaza Strip. There is little left of Gaza now that Israel has been carrying out attacks there for months to eliminate Hamas and free hostages.
Ambassador Idit Rosenzweig-Abu assured Belga news agency that Israel is currently investigating whether the bombing was actually bombed by the Israeli army. “Once we have that information, we will share it.”