Belgian unions refuse handling arms shipments for Israel-Hamas conflict

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian transport workers' unions on Tuesday called on their members to refuse to handle military equipment being sent to Israel to battle Hamas gunmen.

The ACV Puls, BTB, BBTK and ACV-Transcom unions said in a joint statement that airport workers have seen arms shipments.

"While a genocide is under way in Palestine, workers at various airports in Belgium are seeing arms shipments in the direction of the war zone," the statement said.

Israel says it is targeting Hamas military operations and not civilians in Gaza.

A Belgian government spokesperson declined to comment on whether arms were shipped to the region via Belgium.

The unions said that loading or offloading these weapons would mean contributing to supplying organisations that kill innocent people.

"We, several unions active in ground logistics, call on our members not to handle any flights that ship military equipment to Palestine/Israel, like there were clear agreements and rules at the start of the conflict with Russia and Ukraine," the unions said.

The unions also called for an immediate ceasefire and asked the Belgian government to not tolerate arms shipments through Belgian airports.

"As unions, we stand with those who campaign for peace," they said.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallied in cities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia on Saturday to show support for the Palestinians.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)