Belgium to airdrop 500,000 euros in humanitarian aid over Gaza

The Belgian army will airdrop 500,000 euros in humanitarian aid over Gaza, the country decided on Friday. A reconnaissance team is currently in Jordan to plan how and where the airdrop will take place. 

An A400M transport plane carrying medical equipment and food will take off for Gaza on Monday. Belgian Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder said that the airdrop would take place "as soon as possible, but certainly in the course of next week".

Dedonder said she would like to see more than one airdrop and intends to cooperate with Jordan, which has already carried out airdrops.

Israel must give approval

Prime minister Alexander De Croo said the airlift would include 400,000 euros of medical equipment and 100,000 euros of food. De Croo said it was "very urgent humanitarian aid."

However, Israel must give its approval before the aid can be delivered. "Permission will be sought and we expect to get it because it is really necessary," De Croo said. "It is aid to the population."

Dedonder made the proposal to organise an airdrop of aid on Thursday when it emerged that more than 100 people had been killed in Gaza during the distribution of aid. 

"Belgium will provide food and basic supplies through a B-FAST operation coordinated by Foreign Affairs"

In a video message on X, Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib said she had already tabled the question of joining Jordan's humanitarian airdrops with the government on Sunday. 

"Today, the government has accepted my proposal. Belgium will provide food and basic supplies through a B-FAST operation coordinated by Foreign Affairs," said Lahbib.

Belgium is also considering other aid initiatives with Arab countries and other EU member states. "We remain committed to achieving a ceasefire, to an agreement that should lead to two states living together in peace and security," Lahbib said.

Continued UNRWA funding

Belgium also announced on Friday that it would continue to pay its contribution to UNRWA funding. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees had come under scrutiny over the possible involvement of staff members in the Hamas attack on Israel in early October.

Several countries decided to suspend their contributions to UNRWA, but the Belgian government did not follow suit. On Friday, the government decided to go ahead with a 13.5 million euro payment to the agency. 

"Innocent Palestinians should not have to pay the price for the crimes of terrorist group Hamas"

"It is the only organisation that can deliver aid to the population. We have to make sure it does not dry up," said De Croo.

Earlier in the day, the European Commission also decided not to interrupt its funding to UNRWA because it has now reached new "robust" agreements with the agency. 

"Innocent Palestinians should not have to pay the price for the crimes of terrorist group Hamas," said Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.



Humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip sitting on the tarmac before being loaded onto a military aircraft at undisclosed location in Jordan © Photo handout Jordanian army / AFP

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