Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter has called for trade and travel restrictions to be imposed on Israel in response to the civilian death toll from its anti-Hamas operation in Gaza. De Sutter’s comments come as Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has resulted in the deaths of over 10,000 people, according to local officials.
“We cannot look away while children are killed every day in Gaza,” De Sutter told the Nieuwsblad newspaper. She proposed suspending Belgium’s association agreement with Israel and banning the import of products from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. In addition, she suggested that officials and military personnel found guilty of war crimes, as well as violent radical Jewish settlers, should be banned from traveling to the EU. De Sutter emphasized the need for an investigation into the bombings of hospitals and refugee camps, calling the war violence unacceptable.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo also criticized Israel’s military tactics, stating, “If one bombs an entire refugee camp with the intention of eliminating one terrorist, I don’t think this is proportionate anymore. Something like that is a bridge too far.” He emphasized the need to end the violence and prevent thousands of civilian casualties.
Both De Sutter and De Croo condemned the brutality by Hamas, with De Sutter suggesting that efforts to stifle funding of the organization need to be ramped up. Israeli officials have claimed that the country’s military actions are in accordance with international law and have denied that the civilian casualties are disproportionate. Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has claimed that Hamas is killing Palestinians by placing its military assets among them.
In response to these statements, Israeli officials claimed that the country’s military is acting in accordance with international law and denied that the civilian casualties are disproportionate. Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has also claimed that Hamas is using Palestinian civilians as human shields.
The call for trade and travel restrictions is significant, as it represents a direct response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the high civilian death toll resulting from Israel’s anti-Hamas operation. This proposal has the potential to impact Israel’s economy and its diplomatic relations with the EU, as well as contribute to the international condemnation of its military actions in Gaza.
The escalating violence in the region has prompted global leaders to speak out, with the Belgian government joining the ranks of those calling for repercussions against Israel. As the situation continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how Israel will respond to these calls for sanctions and whether other countries will join Belgium in taking action against Israel’s military actions in Gaza.