update deskBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

Belgian PM pushes EU to impose sanctions on Israel

“Can we now simply continue with Israel as a trading partner? I do not think so," said Alexander De Croo.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha, Qatar, on March 16, 2024. Source: X/@alexanderdecroo.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha, Qatar, on March 16, 2024. Source: X/@alexanderdecroo.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is calling for the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel’s Judea and Samaria region over the Jewish state’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

“Can we now simply continue with Israel as a trading partner? I do not think so,” the premier said in an interview with Antwerp-based Dutch-language newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws published on Monday.

“We can’t just stand by and use big words and just say, ‘We can’t let this happen,’” Croo continued, singling out dates, olive oil and wine as targets for potential trade sanctions.

Belgium, home to a large Muslim population, has been highly critical of Israel in the aftermath of the Hamas-led massacre of Oct. 7 and ensuing war, calling for the E.U. bloc to reexamine its associated member agreement with Jerusalem, stop weapons sales to Israel and demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Two months ago, the Brussels municipality approved legislation banning Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria.

In an interview on Monday with Belgian media, De Croos cited potential violations of the E.U.-Israel Association Agreement as grounds for imposing sanctions.

“Europe has an association treaty with Israel, which contains conditions relating to human rights. We have asked [the E.U.’s foreign policy chief] Josep Borrell to investigate this point,” he said.

Borrell said last week that Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Malta will unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state by the end of May.

De Croo’s promotion of sanctions marks a change in his position on the issue. Two months ago, he rejected calls by the Belgian opposition to make the move.

In explaining his change in stance, De Croo said that there are “too many victims as a result of Israeli military operations.”

According to Israel’s Globes business daily, the initiative will likely fail due to opposition from Israel’s allies in the European Union, such as Germany, Austria and Hungary.

The European Union is Israel’s biggest trading partner, purchasing 25% of Israeli exports and sending 33% of the Jewish state’s imports. Belgium is Israel’s fourth biggest trading partner in Europe, mainly due to the trade in diamonds.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates