Police authorities in Belgium are to be commended for their quest for justice when it comes to the Palestinian people and the crimes committed against the people of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli government. Twice under the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the full weight of its military and air forces been unleashed on the largely unarmed, unprepared and ill-defended civilian population in the narrow coastal corridor, resulting in the complete devastation of its infrastructure, the killing of some ten thousand men, women and children, and the injuring and maiming of many thousands more.

During those murderous assaults, Israeli forces bombarded homes, shelled beaches, fired inhumane phosphorous rounds, used cluster bombs, unleashed attack helicopter gunships and mobilised heavy battle tanks into the Gaza Strip. In defence, light arms and home-made rockets were used against the full military force using its US-backed weaponry and technology.

Belgian authorities consider the assaults to be worthy of investigation under the war and crimes against humanity category or international law. With Tzipi Livni, the then foreign minister of Israel at the times of the assaults, due to visit Brussels, Belgian authorities wanted to question her. Suddenly, facing the realisation that she might actually be held to account for the murderous outrages against the Gaza Strip and its civilian population, Livni has cancelled her trip. And the cancellation coincided with a verbal onslaught from Israel about Belgium’s “cynical exploitation” of that nation’s legal system.

If the international community is serious about supporting Palestine, more nations need to follow Belgium’s lead. War criminals must be held to account, and they cannot hide behind diplomatic passports or government positions to avoid prosecution.