Belgium Urges EU-wide Ban on Weapons Exports to Israel Amid Gaza Conflict

In a bold move echoing growing discontent within the European Union (EU) over Israel’s actions in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Belgium, as the current holder of the EU presidency, is advocating for a complete ban on the export of weapons to Israel. This stance, however, faces opposition from some member states within the bloc.

Belgian Development Co-operation Minister Caroline Gennez reiterated Belgium’s position during a visit to Jordan’s capital, Amman, stating, “It is very clear that Belgium is in favour of a full weapons ban but some member states are still exporting.” This declaration marks a significant escalation in the EU’s response to the conflict.

Germany, a dominant player in the EU’s weapons sales to Israel, has not committed to halting the bulk of its deliveries. 

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius hinted at a potential pause in the delivery of certain weapons, akin to measures taken by the United States, which accounts for a substantial portion of Israel’s arms imports.

The announcement from Belgium underscores a broader trend of diminishing support for Israel within the EU, particularly following heightened criticism of Israel’s actions. 

The initial outpouring of support waned after the killing of approximately 1,200 civilians in raids by Hamas last October, which triggered the ongoing conflict.

According to health officials in Gaza, more than 35,100 people, predominantly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s subsequent military retaliation. 

Minister Gennez emphasized that while Israel has the right to defend itself, it cannot justify punishing an entire population for the actions of a few.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo recently disclosed his government’s efforts to lobby the EU for trade sanctions on Israeli goods originating from Palestinian territories recognized as occupied under international law. 

This move reflects a growing determination within the EU to hold Israel accountable for its actions in the occupied territories.

Minister Gennez highlighted the importance of international cooperation in finding a lasting solution to the conflict, asserting that the Israeli government must collaborate with global powers. 

She underscored the significance of the EU’s role as a crucial trade partner to Israel, emphasizing Israel’s obligation to uphold human rights in Palestine under its association agreement with the bloc.

Belgium’s push for a total ban on weapons export to Israel underscores a deepening rift within the EU over its relationship with Israel and its response to the conflict in Gaza. 

As tensions escalate, the EU faces mounting pressure to take decisive action to address the humanitarian crisis and promote a peaceful resolution to the longstanding conflict.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our staff editorial members

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