About twenty Belgians arrived in our country from Gaza on Saturday, but more than 150 compatriots are currently still in custody. Minister of Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez (Vooruit) said this at VTM NIEUWS. Gennez wants to get all Belgians home at all costs. “But for this the border crossing at Rafah must be open,” she emphasizes.
On Saturday, about twenty Belgians landed from Cairo, Egypt, at Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands, after being able to leave Gaza last Thursday. According to Gennez, there are currently more than 150 compatriots in Gaza who have indicated that they want to leave.
For the minister, it is “the absolute ambition” to bring all those 150 people to our country, but at the moment that is not possible because the border crossing at Rafah is closed again. “First and foremost, the border to Egypt must be open and secondly, you must get to the border crossing safely,” Gennez emphasizes. But that is difficult, since there is “continuous bombardment”, it sounds.
The minister confirms that our country is in permanent contact with the Belgians in Gaza. “But that is not always easy since Israel shuts down the internet and telephony,” she says. “It is a horrible situation that is causing many innocent civilians and children to suffer inhumanly.”
10 million euros of Belgian aid
According to Gennez, our country mainly helps financially. “Emergency aid has been increased by 2 million euros, bringing the total amount this year to 10 million euros,” it said. This money goes to Palestinian schools, hospitals and basic necessities such as drinking water, food and medicine. “On a normal day in Gaza – which is actually an open-air prison – at least 300 trucks arrive to supply the entire Gaza Strip.” But due to the war, aid is currently scarce, the minister said.
Gennez says he is certain that none of the millions of Belgian aid will end up in the hands of Hamas. “We obviously do not work with a terrorist organization like Hamas,” she assures.
Finally, the politician underlines that Israel is “collectively punishing” innocent civilians for Hamas’s terrorist attack. Gennez is therefore not in favor of arms deliveries to Israel and believes that the country should be punished. For example, the minister wants to investigate countermeasures, including regarding Israeli products and visas for high-ranking people. “We must also work towards the recognition of two states, Israel and Palestine, where people can live together in peace,” she concludes.
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