Belgium joins EU efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza

Andrea Calvello

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – Belgium is joining hands with the EU to transport humanitarian aid to Gaza, the EU Commission announced. It will confirm the transport with the Defence Ministry and the City of Brussels.

What is included in the humanitarian aid from Brussels?

The aid comprises 240 tonnes of supplies organised by the Brussels charity “Human Smile,” including hygiene articles, mattresses, resting bags and pillows, as well as powdered milk for infants and other forms of aid for Palestinians in demand.

How is the EU facilitating the transportation of aid?

The EU Commission is sustaining the delivery of the cargo and wrapping the transport costs of the operation. The support will be transported to Jordan by sea and delivered to the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO) before being hauled to Gaza. This new delivery is in complement to the more than 2,600 tonnes transported to date by 55 flyings in the EU’s humanitarian airlift.

“To tackle such a dramatic situation we need to think outside the box and explore new ways of working together to relieve the suffering of civilians in Gaza,” stated European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic. “It is essential that all landways for aid to Gaza are opened and operated to full capacity,” he added. “I urge all parties to permit rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza and within the Gaza Strip.”

How much has the EU allocated for humanitarian aid to Palestine?

For 2023 and 2024, the EU has assigned more than €290 million in humanitarian assistance to Palestine, concentrating on sectors such as food, nutrition, health, water and sanitation, and protection.

What additional funding has Belgium committed to Palestinian support?

In May, Belgium committed an extra four million euros to sustain Palestinians, announced Development Minister for Cooperation, Caroline Gennez (Vooruit), during a stay in Palestine.

Three of the four million will be mandated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which assists Palestinian refugees, with the remainder assigned to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN’s specialised work agency.

How is Belgium reinforcing its pledge to UNRWA and ILO?

Belgium recently reaffirmed its multi-year pledge to UNRWA, offering 27.5 million euros between 2024 and 2026. The additional three million euros, reported will bolster this sum, described Gennez. “We have continued to keep UNRWA, even during difficult times,” stated Ms Gennez, emphasising the importance of their contribution to stability in the area, concentrating on hospitals, schools and social protection. 

The one million euros given to the ILO will be used for a programme centred on the rebuilding of Gaza and employment in the area.

What are Minister Gennez’s goals for Palestinian statehood and reform?

“Belgium is the first country to partake in this programme,” the minister said. “Since 7 October, the Palestinian economy has decreased by 50% and more than 500,000 people have failed their jobs in Palestinian territories. With this investment, we desire to signal to Palestinians that we are not leaving them and aim to boost the Palestinian economy.”

Gennez also examined the hopes for a possible Palestinian state with constituents of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Her discussions centred on the need for serious-rooted reform within the Palestinian Authority, placed as a vital partner for regional stability.

Gennez, from the Vooruit party, highlighted the required democratic nature of the Palestinian leader. An 11-point program on democracy was reportedly in the outcomes, while effort was being carried on human rights and freedom of expression

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Andrea Calvello is a Journalist at Brussels Morning News. He is covering European Politics, European Parliament, European Council, European Commission and Europe News. He is a highly accomplished journalist and digital specialist with a wealth of experience in the media industry. He holds a Master's degree in Business Administration with a focus on marketing and digital transformation, as well as an Executive Master in Human Resources Management, Development, and Administration. Additionally, he has completed a specialization course in advertising communication, marketing, and Made in Italy communication and digital technologies. Calvello is also a member of the National Order of Journalists and has had a successful career as a TV journalist, bringing his expertise in marketing and digital communication to the world of television broadcasting. His diverse skill set and passion for innovation have set him apart as a dynamic and influential figure in the field of media and communications.