Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Belgium calls for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

A humanitarian ceasefire must happen in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as soon as possible, so that aid can reach Gaza's population, stated Development Cooperation minister Caroline Gennez on Thursday. "Aid workers have to be able to reach the people, it is a matter of life and death," the minister said.

Gennez also stressed that only recognised aid organisations that are externally audited will receive Belgian development aid for the Palestinian territories. "We do not cooperate with governments and certainly not with terrorists such as Hamas," she said.

Moreover, extra support also does not mean literal money going to Gaza, Gennez clarified. "People there don't have any money at the moment. You can't eat money or use it to treat burns. (...) I'm talking about medical assistance and basic resources for humanitarian organisations that are on the ground at the risk of their lives." The minister announced earlier this week that she was releasing an additional €2 million for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

"Aid workers have to be able to reach the people, it is a matter of life and death"

Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo added that Belgium advocates de-escalation and humanitarian aid corridors. He reiterated that, even in a war, all parties must abide by international law. "Israel has the right to defend itself when hundreds of its compatriots are taken hostage. (...) The people of Gaza have a right to peace, and both sides have responsibility in this conflict."

Deputy prime minister Petra De Sutter had already called for a ceasefire in the region on Wednesday. She told De Morgen that she would advocate for a ceasefire within the government. Later that day, Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib clarified that that was not the official government position.


Belgian minister for Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez. © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE


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