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'Crimes are being committed': Belgium deputy PM Petra De Sutter calls for sanctions against Israel

FILE - Belgian Vice-Prime Minister Petra De Sutter attends a media conference in Brussels, Friday, Feb 12, 2021.
FILE - Belgian Vice-Prime Minister Petra De Sutter attends a media conference in Brussels, Friday, Feb 12, 2021. Copyright Didier Lebrun/AP
Copyright Didier Lebrun/AP
By Joshua Askew
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“Israel’s bombing increases the Palestinians’ total hopelessness," said Petra De Sutter. "Without a real solution, the violence will continue to repeat itself."

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Belgium's deputy prime minister called on the country's government to sanction Israel on Wednesday. 

“It is time for sanctions against Israel. The bombing is inhumane," Petra De Sutter from the Greens wrote on X. “While war crimes are being committed in Gaza, Israel ignores the international demand for a cease-fire.”

Israel has been accused of hitting hospitals and refugee camps in Gaza - violating international laws on the conduct of war. 

The country began relentlessly bombing the Palestinian enclave after the Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on 7 October, killing 1,400 people. 

Officials from the Hamas-run health ministry said 10,569 Gaza residents had been killed as of Wednesday, about 40% of them children.

The war marks the bloodiest episode in the generations-long Israel-Palestinian conflict.

De Sutter urged the European Union to immediately suspend its association agreement with Israel, which aims at better economic and political cooperation.

She proposed, in a press release, that Belgium allocate extra funds for the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes by Israel and Hamas. 

People and companies who supply Hamas with money must be sanctioned, while violent settlers, politicians and military figures responsible for war crimes should face an entry ban, De Sutter added.

"This is a terrorist organization. Terror costs money and there must be sanctions on the companies and people who provide Hamas with money," De Sutter said

Data shared with Euronews earlier this month shows multiple European states have supplied key weapons and equipment that Israeli forces are now likely using on the ground in Gaza. 

“States which continue to transfer arms to Israel or Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups with the knowledge that the recipient state or group is using these arms to commit “internationally wrongful acts” – which include crimes under international law such as war crimes and crimes against humanity - are themselves at risk of aiding and assisting in those wrongs," Amnesty International researcher Patrick Wilcken told Euronews at the time.

The Belgian deputy PM also said an import ban on products from occupied Palestinian territories should be implemented and violent settlers, politicians, and soldiers responsible for war crimes should be banned from entering the EU.

“Israel’s bombing increases the Palestinians’ total hopelessness. Without a real solution, the violence will continue to repeat itself. That is why a political solution that recognizes Palestine as a state is necessary,” she noted.

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