Belgian PM Considers Trade Sanctions on Israel

By Aryeh Stern

Buildings are reflected in the canals in Bruges, Belgium. The city is famous for its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. (Nati Shohat/FLASH90)

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is reportedly reconsidering his stance and contemplating trade sanctions against Israel in response to its actions in Gaza, according to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. The proposed sanctions would involve banning imports of products from the Yehudah and Shomron, including olive oil, dates, and wine.

Belgium, along with other EU countries such as Ireland, Spain, Malta, Slovenia, and Luxembourg, has been advocating for a pro-Palestinian policy and has strongly criticized Israel since the beginning of the war against the Hamas in Gaza. They have called for actions such as reassessing the EU’s association agreement with Israel, halting arms sales to Israel, and urging an immediate ceasefire. Additionally, these countries are pushing for the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, contrary to the EU’s official position.

De Croo’s potential shift marks a significant escalation in measures against Israel. At a recent event hosted by the Belgian newspaper, De Croo questioned whether they could continue doing business with Israel as a leading trade partner, suggesting a moral imperative for action. He emphasized the need to act in response to the casualties resulting from Israeli military operations in Gaza and the situation in Yehudah and Shomron.

Although De Croo’s initiative may face challenges at the EU level, particularly due to opposition from central countries like Germany and Italy, Belgium has been at the forefront of efforts within the EU to restrict imports from Yehudah and Shomron. If the proposed sanctions fail to gain traction at the EU level, De Croo indicated he would consider pursuing them as part of a voluntary coalition with other pro-Palestinian countries in the EU.

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