Belgium calls for lifting of Gaza siege

Belgian minister of development Alexander de Croo speaking at the event
Belgian minister of development Alexander de Croo speaking at the event

BRUSSELS, June 14 (KUNA) — Belgium called on Tuesday for the lifting of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip and the full opening of all the crossing points.
Alexander De Croo, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, told an event on Gaza in Brussels this evening that the Israeli siege is making life for the people in Gaza “very precarious,” and stressed that “this blockade should end.
“Belgium and the EU call for fundamental change of the political, economic and security situation in Gaza and an end to the blockade and a full opening of the crossing points,” he said.
“Belgium stands side by side with populations that are separated. Palestinian people are no exception to this. We have continued our strong partnership with the Palestinian Authority throughout the years,” said the young Belgian minister.
“There is no alternative to a negotiated two-state solution,” he said.
Since 2010, Belgium has supported UNRWA with over 60 million euro.
The event, titled “10th year of the Gaza blockade: humanitarian consequences,” was organised by De Croo in cooperation with of Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner-General of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
On his part, the UNRWA chief said the Israeli military onslaught in Gaza in the summer of 2014 has left a devastating psychological and social effect on the 1.8 million population of Gaza noting that suicide rates have gone up tremendously.
Nearly half of the population of Gaza is dependent on food assistance as a result of the Israeli blockade and occupation, he said.
Krahenbuhl said his biggest concern is the absence of any “political horizon” to resolve the Palestine question.
On Monday (yesterday) evening, he also addressed the European Parliamentآ’s foreign affairs committee about the role of URNWA in helping the Palestinian refugees.
“The situation of Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East today is one of existential from of crisis. One reason for that is also that the attention levels to the plight of the Palestinian refugees has gone down significantly over the past years due to the grave disasters in Syria, Iraq Libya and Yemen,” he told the EP.
“I think the fact that 5.2 million Palestinian refugees living in the Middle East in very unstable environment would be neglected is a risk that the world should not be taking,” added the UNRWA chief. (end)