All the Palestinians, including children, killed in the violence at the Israeli-Gaza border were “terrorists,” Israel’s ambassador to Belgium said.
She was called to the foreign ministry shortly after the statement.
Brussels slammed the Israeli envoy to Belgium, Simona Frankel, as she did not mince words in the aftermath of the widely-condemned violence in Gaza, where at least 60 people were killed and more than 2,700 protesters were injured by Israeli fire on Monday.
"I regret death of every human being, even 55 terrorists who tried to cross the border," Frankel said in an interview to Belgian broadcaster RTBF on Tuesday.
When asked to clarify whether even 8 minors were terrorists, the Israeli diplomat stood by her words and replied that “they all are.”
The envoy added that Hamas is to blame for everything that happened at the border, as she said they manipulated the people who went out to protest.
Belgium strongly condemned Monday’s “excessive violence against civilians” in the Gaza Strip.
The foreign ministry summoned Frankel for a formal dressing down shortly after the interview.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also decried the Israeli ambassador’s statement, pointing to the disproportionate use of force by Israel.
“The comment that consisted of saying that all killed or hurt were terrorists — that we can obviously not accept,” Reynders stated.
Prime Minister Charles Michel, who called for an international inquiry into the events in Gaza, also said he was “shocked” by Frankel’s interview, according to Le Monde.
Earlier, Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador over the violence at the Gaza border, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed as “genocide.”
Turkey also recalled its own envoys from both Tel Aviv and Washington.
Israel has also ordered the Turkish consul responsible for relations with Palestinians to leave the country.
At least 60 Palestinian protesters, including children, were killed by Israeli bullets and tear gas in what the Palestinian government describes as a “terrible massacre” during demonstrations on the day of the US Embassy’s inauguration in Jerusalem.
The violence was condemned by rights groups and most UN Security Council members, with even the US’ closest allies refusing to stand by Washington’s support for Tel Aviv.