'Israel is doing the same against Hamas as the West did against IS', says Israeli ambassador
Israel's ambassador to Belgium, Idit Rosenzweig-Abu, has compared the Israeli army's military operation in Gaza against Hamas to that of the US-led international coalition against Islamic State, which includes Belgium.
"Israel is not in an easy situation. We are afraid that Hamas will do what it said and repeat what it did on 7 October," she told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday. "We have to eliminate this threat. I know you don't like to hear it, but we will do this in the same way as you did against IS."
Rosenzweig-Abu gave a presentation that combined distressing footage of victims of the 7 October attack, audio clips from Hamas, videos of Hamas leaders and photos of Mosul and Raqqa after bombings in 2017.
"We have to eliminate this threat. I know you don't like to hear it, but we will do this in the same way as you did against IS"
"What did you do when IS came to attack you here? You formed an international coalition," Rosenzweig-Abu said. She then outlined the three goals of that coalition: destroying infrastructure, eliminating IS leaders and draining the group's finances.
'Balance must be respected'
Several MPs then referred to Israel's response after 7 October. "You are using the mistakes of others to justify your own. Innocent civilians were killed and there is no excuse for that," said Wouter De Vriendt of Flemish green party Groen. "How many more Palestinian children have to die before your country stops bombing?"
"You come here to convince us that you have the right to kill civilians and children. This is unacceptable," said Nabil Boukili of the far-left PVDA.
"How many more Palestinian children have to die before your country stops bombing?"
The Walloon Christian democrats Les Engagés and liberals MR reacted more moderately. "Israel has the right to defend its people, but there is a balance in international law that must be respected," said Marie Christine Marghem (MR), who condemned the way Hamas mixed with the Palestinian population to spread terror. "The response to these attacks must be proportionate and targeted at the perpetrators."
Israel's ambassador to Belgium, Idit Rosenzweig-Abu © BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE