A Belgian official posted photos showing the building housing its aid agency’s offices in Gaza was destroyed by an Israeli air strike on the besieged Palestinian enclave. The building was targeted as Belgium is refusing to cut off assistance to the Palestinian UN aid agency.
Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy Caroline Gennez posted photos of the building before and after it was destroyed on X. “The office building of Enabel, the Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation, in Gaza, has been bombed and is completely destroyed,” her post explained. “Attacking civilian buildings is and remains totally unacceptable.”
She added that Brussels had summoned Tel Aviv’s ambassador.
Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute, Trita Parsi, noted that Israel targeted the Belgian office as Brussels is resisting pressure to cut funding to the Palestinian UN aid agency. “Belgium is one of the Western countries that has refused to cut funding to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency). So Israel just bombed the office of the Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation in Gaza,” he wrote on X. “This is a direct result of the impunity Washington has provided Israel.”
Last week, Israel informed UNRWA that a dozen of its employees participated in the October 7 Hamas attack. The agency’s leadership took immediate action to terminate the employees, even as Tel Aviv’s evidence was based on confessions given during interrogation. It is a dubious source, given Israel’s widespread abuse of Palestinian prisoners over the past four months.
Tel Aviv has since claimed that it also has evidence obtained from cell phones.
The US, Germany, and several other Western countries cut funding to UNRWA over the Israeli allegations. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the UN, said Washington would not resume funding to UNRWA until the organization undergoes substantial reforms. “We need to look at the organization, how it operates in Gaza.” She continued, “how [UNRWA] manage their staff and to ensure that people who commit criminal acts, such as these 12 individuals, are held accountable immediately so that UNRWA can continue the essential work that it’s doing.”
Several human rights officials have warned that the aid cuts will push Gaza into famine and increase the death of Palestinians in the Strip. On Sunday, Michael Fakhri, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, posted on X, “Some states decided to defund UNRWA for the alleged actions of a small number of employees. This collectively punishes +2.2 million Palestinians. Famine was imminent. Famine is now inevitable.”