Trade and travel restrictions should be considered due to the ‘rain of bombs’ on Gaza, Petra De Sutter has said
Israel should face repercussions for the massive civilian death toll from its anti-Hamas operation in Gaza, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter has said.
“We cannot look away while children are killed every day in Gaza,” the politician told the Nieuwsblad newspaper on Wednesday. “It is time for sanctions against Israel. The rain of bombs is inhumane. It is clear that Israel does not care about the international demands for a ceasefire.”
She proposed suspending Belgium’s association agreement with Israel and banning the import of products from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Officials and military personnel found guilty of war crimes, as well as violent radical Jewish settlers, should be banned from traveling to the EU, she added.
Israel launched its bombardment of Gaza last month in retaliation for a deadly incursion by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, whose fighters killed some 1,400 people and captured scores of hostages during an October 7 raid. In the month since then, over 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to a tally by local officials.
“There must be an investigation into the bombings of hospitals and refugee camps. This is war violence that is never acceptable,” De Sutter said, suggesting additional funding for The Hague-based International Criminal Court, whose jurisdiction Israel does not recognize.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo blasted Israel’s military tactics at a gathering of diplomats in Brussels on Monday.
“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 said.
Our country is not taking sides. What we do choose is an end to violence and thousands of civilian casualties.
Both Belgian politicians condemned the brutality by Hamas. The deputy prime minister suggested that efforts to stifle funding of the organization need to be ramped up.
Israeli officials claim that the country’s military is acting in accordance with international law and deny that the civilian casualties are disproportionate. Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has claimed Hamas is killing Palestinians by placing its military assets among them.
“If you place rockets in schools, in homes, and you use human shields, you are effectively killing your people. It’s not only genocide against Israelis, it’s self-genocide,” he told MSNBC last Sunday.