Belgium summons Israeli ambassador over bombing of development agency

Belgium summons Israeli ambassador over bombing of development agency
Hadja Lahbib, Belgium’s foreign minister, condemned the Israeli bombing of the Enabel development agency in Gaza.
2 min read
02 February, 2024
The bombing of the building comes after Norway, Spain, Ireland and Belgium said they would not be suspending funding to UNRWA [Getty]

Belgium’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib summoned the Israeli ambassador on Friday over the Israeli bombing of a building of the Enabel Belgian development agency in Gaza. 

"I have just summoned the Israeli ambassador to express our strong condemnation of the destruction of Enabel offices in Gaza. Attacks on civilian infrastructure breach the principles of international humanitarian law," Lahbib posted on X.  "All parties must adhere to it."

Images shared online showed the building reduced to rubble following the Israeli bombing on Thursday. 

Jean Van Wetter, the CEO of Enabel, announced the destruction of the building on X, saying it was "totally destroyed".

"Attacking civilian buildings is totally unacceptable. We are all shocked at Enabel. As a government agency working for the common good in a framework of international humanitarian law, we cannot accept this," he said.

Enabel works on improving education around Palestine, including in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

The bombing of the building comes after Norway, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium resisted pressure to suspend funding to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

A number of countries - including the US, UK, Switzerland, and Germany - suspended funds to the agency, which is one of the biggest providers of aid in the enclave, following allegations from Israel that some of the organisation’s staff were involved in the Hamas-led the attack on Israel on 7 October. 


UNRWA has 13,000 staff members in Gaza who run schools, health facilities, and women's centres. It is the second biggest employer in the besieged enclave.

Israel has targeted civilian infrastructure in Gaza since the start of the war on 7 October, destroying over 70 percent of the enclave’s housing units, according to the UN. 

According to satellite data analysis obtained by the BBC, between 144,000 and 175,000 buildings across the whole of the Gaza Strip have been damaged or destroyed.