Belgium summons Israeli envoy, calls for Gaza inquiry

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Belgium on Tuesday demanded a UN inquiry into the violence in Gaza and summoned Israel's ambassador to the foreign ministry after she described all the Palestinian victims as "terrorists".

Prime Minister Charles Michel called for an investigation into the violence in which 60 Palestinians were killed on the border with Israel as the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem.

"The violence committed in the Gaza Strip yesterday is unacceptable. We call for an international inquiry led by the United Nations," Michel said in a joint statement with Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

The strongly worded statement said the Israeli army crackdown amounted to a "disproportionate use of force" against civilians, adding: "Firing live rounds on protesters is shameful."

The Belgians also criticised the United States, warning that the "unilateral decision of President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer the US embassy there takes us still further from peace."

Separately the Belgian foreign ministry told AFP it summoned Israeli ambassador Simona Frankel to explain her remarks.

Frankel had said on Belgian broadcaster RTBF: "I really regret the loss of each human being who died, whatever their nationality, even if they are terrorists."

"They are all (terrorists)," Frankel said when asked to clarify. "Look at the people who take a baby toward a fence. These are not peaceful demonstrators."

Belgium's Reynders said: "To say that all the people who were killed were terrorists, that is beyond belief."


© 2018 AFP

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