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Belgium advocates trade sanctions against Israel amid Gaza war

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference, May 3, 2024 in Brussels. (Photo: Hatim Kachat/BELGA via Reuters)

Belgium, which currently heads the rotating EU Council presidency, reportedly seeks to gather support for new trade sanctions against Israel from other European Union member states.

The Western European nation is Israel’s fourth largest European trading partner, with an extensive focus on the diamond trade. Belgium has also been one of Israel's harshest critics in the European Union for years.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo recently indicated that he seeks to reevaluate the country’s trade ties with Israel.

“Can we now simply continue with Israel as a trading partner? I don’t think so,” De Croo stated during an interview with the local paper Het Laatste Nieuws.

“Since then, there have been 35,000 deaths, including 10,000 children,” De Croo added, referring to unverified statistics from the Gaza Health Ministry (GHM), which is run by the Hamas terror group.

De Croo, who has been under pressure from opposition lawmakers to impose trade sanctions against Israel in the past, stated that European nations had a moral obligation to oppose Israel’s military operations in Gaza. The Belgian premier has also warned that the conflict in Gaza would ignite a regional war.

“And it is not the main reason, but we Europeans will bear the consequences. In ten years they’re going to say, ‘You watched and took no action.'”

Pundits do not believe that Belgium will succeed in organizing widespread European trade sanctions against Israel.

Emmanuel Navon, a French-speaking Israeli who heads ELNET-Israel, an organization that focuses on promoting European-Israeli relations, criticized Belgium’s Middle East policies.

“If Belgium wishes to end the conflict it should demand the release of Israeli hostages, the capitulation of Hamas, and impose sanctions on the main source of aggression and instability in the Middle East – Iran,” Navon stated.

Last month, Belgium was named as one of five countries that could potentially unilaterally recognize “Palestine” as an independent state, according to EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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