Belgium condemns demolitions in the occupied Palestinian Territories

Belgium condemns the recent demolition of four homes in the occupied Palestinian Territories (in al-Rakeez, south of Hebron) by the Israeli authorities. This essential infrastructure was built with Belgian funding, as part of humanitarian aid implemented by the West Bank Protection Consortium. Our country asks Israel for compensation or restitution for these destructions.

Belgium supports such infrastructure projects because they meet urgent humanitarian needs. They are always carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law.

As a member of the UN Security Council, Belgium has on several occasions expressed great concern about the alarming increase in the number of demolitions and seizures of structures and humanitarian projects in area C in the West Bank. We reiterate that the demolition of infrastructure and housing in the occupied West Bank is contrary to international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel's obligations as occupying power and UN Security Council resolutions.

Belgium is also appalled by the demolition on November 3rd of more than eighty structures in the village of Khirbet Hamsa al-Foqa in the Jordan Valley. This has an enormous impact on the local population and on the assistance provided by humanitarian partners. Belgium calls on the Israeli authorities to stop the demolition of humanitarian aid in line with international humanitarian law. Moreover, Belgium is not the only international donor facing demolition. Since 2017, at the initiative of Belgium, a group of partner countries affected by similar actions has systematically intervened with the Israeli authorities to ask them to stop the demolitions and to repair the affected projects or to compensate for the damage suffered.

Finally, Belgium is particularly concerned about the demolition of schools. Palestinian children, like all children in the world, have a right to education. A right guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, Belgium calls on the Israeli authorities not to execute the demolition orders for the schools in Ras al-Tin, Jinba and Khirbet al-Fakheit, as well as to safeguard all 52 schools in the West Bank at risk of demolition.