8 April 2023
The escalation of violence in Israel/Palestine
Belgium condemns Israeli violence against worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. We call for respect for the historical Status-Quo regarding the holy sites and Jordan's role. During this unique period when Ramadan, Pesach and Easter coincide, respect, restraint and responsibility are expected. Our country is concerned about the spiral of escalation initiated by these violent incidents.
Belgium condemns indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza and Lebanon toward Israel. We condemn any violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Israel, Lebanon and the other countries in the region. We also strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent days. Attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilian targets violate international humanitarian law. We call for immediate de-escalation.
Furthermore, our country is committed to the Palestinians' right of self-determination and the two-state solution which calls for a Palestinian state. However, the increasing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories since 1967, a flagrant violation of international law, continues to undermine the prospects for a two-state solution. Therefore, Belgium has decided to fully engage in "differentiation" between Israel on the one hand, the illegal settlements on the other, in its economic relations with Israel. The settlements are not covered by the EU-Israel Association Agreement and thus cannot enjoy its benefits.
Belgium will again put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the agenda of the next EU Foreign Affairs Council. The European Union is Israel's main trading partner and the Palestinian Authority's largest donor. Europe owes it to itself to play a significant role in the resolution of this conflict. Therefore, our country demands that the situation be discussed and a concrete way forward be defined. Our country will also again demand an overview of all programs and budget lines between the EU and the conflict parties.