Didier Reynders recalls the parties' obligations to respect international law in Gaza

date: 31 July 2014

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is extremely concerned about the escalating violence in the Gaza conflict which generates an increasing number of victims, mostly civilians. The images and reports of operations in progress are shocking and leave no one indifferent, especially when women and children are the victims.

Both parties cannot, however, be placed on the same footing as on the one hand, there is a terrorist movement, and, on the other hand, a State that has the right and duty to defend its population.

Minister Reynders condemns in the strongest terms all violations of international law by all parties to the conflict. He recalls their obligations in this respect and stresses in particular the neutrality and inviolability of schools and hospitals. It is intolerable and moreover illegal that such buildings, that are under the auspices of the United Nations, provide a place for storage or launching of rockets or are targets of air strikes. All incidents must be investigated and those responsible must be prosecuted.

Didier Reynders reiterates his call to all parties to introduce a ceasefire leading to a lasting solution to the situation in Gaza, responding to legitimate concerns as to the security of Israel and of the Palestinian population. The Minister also encourages the Palestinian population to throw their weight behind President Abbas.

Only the revival the peace process will eventually resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Minister recalls that the EU is available to play a political role in this regard, along with the United States and other partners.