Belgian PM De Croo says situation in Gaza is ‘going too far’

Belgian PM De Croo says situation in Gaza is ‘going too far’
Credit: Belga

"What is happening today in Gaza is no longer proportionate" Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said during his speech on Monday at the Diplomatic Days event being held in Brussels.

In a speech to diplomats at the Palais d'Egmont, De Croo stressed that the Belgian Government had immediately condemned the Hamas terrorist attack on Israeli territory and had recognised Israel's right to protect its population.

However, "if you bomb an entire refugee camp with the intention of eliminating a terrorist, I don't think that's proportionate,” he said, referring to the Israeli bombing of the Maghazi refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip. "This is going too far."

De Croo said that the psychological impact of the Hamas assault on the Israeli population could not be underestimated. A "solution" to Hamas is logical, he says, but the key question is how it can be found.

The Belgian leader also stressed that the decades-long Palestinian struggle for self-determination should not be forgotten.

Political dialogue is the only way to achieve a long-lasting solution, he added, reiterating his call for a truce in the fighting and the release of the hostages held by Hamas.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo talks to the press after a diplomatic meeting between Belgian Prime Minister and Jordan King, Monday 06 November 2023 in Brussels. Credit: Belga / James Arthur Gekiere

The Liberal politician stressed that Belgium was not taking sides in the conflict, but was rather advocating an end to the violence.

De Croo’s words follow Open VLD colleague and former leader of the party, Egbert Lacheart, who provoked the ire of the Israeli Ambassador to Belgium over the weekend for saying to La Libre, that "the strikes on Gaza are like dropping bombs on Molenbeek because terrorists grew up there."

Meanwhile, Israel continued intense bombardments on Monday on the besieged Gaza Strip, where the war has claimed almost 10,000 lives in almost a month, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

More than 1,400 people were killed on 7 October in a Hamas terror attack of unprecedented scale in the country's history. Israeli troops are reportedly encircling Gaza City and are expected to enter it shortly.

Divided EU Member States

Amid the rising death toll in Gaza, Belgium has been one of the few EU Member States alongside Spain and Ireland to break ranks with the European Commission. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday called the Israeli actions in Gaza "resembling something approaching revenge."

In a speech on Monday, European Commission President von der Leyen acknowledged the humanitarian situation in Gaza is "catastrophic" and the death toll among Palestinians is "tragic", but she also stressed that Hamas was using civilians as "human shields", which she called as "horrible and pure evil."

The Gaza Strip cannot be a "sanctuary for terrorists," von der Leyen added, with several ideas being discussed to prevent the return to Gaza of Hamas.

Credit: Belga

Questions remain in the international community over who will rule the Gaza Strip once Israel carries out its stated aim of removing Hamas, with the Commission President stating there could be an "international peace force under a United Nations mandate."

However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stated on Tuesday to NBC News that Israel may have "security responsibility" for Gaza for an "indefinite period" after the war ends.

On Monday, the EU also pledged an increase in the humanitarian aid to Gaza by another €25 million, bringing it up to €100 million in total.

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