Belgium pushes for EU ban on Israeli imports from occupied territories

Belgium is pushing within the European Union for an import ban on products from Israeli-occupied territories such as dates and olive oil, prime minister Alexander De Croo said on Monday.

De Croo said violence was increasing not only in the Gaza Strip but also in the occupied West Bank. Under these circumstances, it is "difficult for European countries to say that we will continue to act as if nothing is happening", he told VRT radio's De Ochtend programme.

If Belgium were to introduce such a trade ban on its own, it would have "zero effect", according to De Croo. That is why Belgium has been making efforts with other European countries for several weeks "to see how we can at least have a large group of countries that are willing to take this step", he said.

De Croo also again warned Israel against a raid on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. "That would have dramatic consequences for the population," he said.

He also said he could see that the situation was stirring emotions in Belgium, for example at universities. "If I were a student today, there is a good chance that I would also raise my voice in protest," he said.



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