Palestinian mission chief calls on Belgium to support immediate ceasefire
The head of the Palestinian mission to Belgium and the European Union, Abdalrahim Alfarra, called on the Belgian Senate on Monday to support the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and to recognise the Palestinian state. "If Belgium does this, others will follow," he said ahead of Belgium taking over the presidency of the European Union.
Alfarra accused European countries of double standards when it comes to international law: they are quick to support Ukraine when it is attacked by Russia, but hesitant when it comes to the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.
Belgium takes over the presidency of the European Union on 1 January. "Why not recognise the Palestinian state immediately? That would be enough. If Belgium does that, others will follow," he told the Senate's International Affairs Committee. Belgium, like other European countries, supports the Spanish initiative for a peace conference in Madrid. "If we go there as a Palestinian state, we will be able to negotiate with Israel," Alfarra said.
"Why not recognise the Palestinian state immediately? If Belgium does that, others will follow"
According to the Hamas health ministry, the Israeli military operation in Gaza has already killed 18,000 people and displaced 1.9 million. "If you let [Israeli prime minister] Nethanyahu do this, we will soon be at 100,000 dead," Alfarra said.
'It wil not happen'
Israel's ambassador to Belgium, Idit Rosenzweig-Abu, told the Senate that Israel would not be safe until Hamas's leadership and infrastructure were destroyed. "Every time they stopped under international pressure," she said. "We thought we would be fine, until 7 October. Is this going to happen every time? If you ask Israel to commit suicide, I can assure you it will not happen."
Socialists, greens and the far-left PVDA have tabled resolutions in the Senate calling for a ceasefire and recognition of Palestine, as they did in the Chamber of Deputies.
The Belgian Senate (illustration) © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT