Belgian Lawmakers Vote for ‘Countermeasures’ Against Israel in Event of West Bank Annexation
Belgium’s parliament voted on Friday to press for Europe-wide sanctions against Israel if Jerusalem decides to extend sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.
Following a two-day debate, deputies voted heavily in favor of a resolution advocating “countermeasures” against Israel should it proceed with the “annexation of occupied territories in Palestine.” Not a single member of the legislature voted against the resolution, with 101 votes in favor and 39 abstentions recorded.
Sponsored by the left-wing Green Party, the resolution urged that Belgium “play a leading role at the European and multilateral level with a view to drawing up a list of effective countermeasures intended to respond proportionately to any Israeli annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory.”
One of the parliamentarians pushing the resolution argued that its primary concern was defending “international law.”
“This is not a fight against one side against the other,” Green Party representative Simon Moutquin told broadcaster rtbf. “It is a question of defending international law. There is no equivalence to respect in this fight.”
Moutquin added that the resolution sent a message to the Israeli government “not to cross that red line.” He claimed its passage would “give some hope to the Palestinians who have suffered injustice for decades.”
One of the proposed “countermeasures” in the resolution — Belgian recognition of the “State of Palestine” — will be discussed again on Wednesday at the parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
The move references a 2015 resolution in which the parliament called on Belgium to recognize a Palestinian state “at the right time.”
According to rtbf‘s report on Friday’s debate, “in the foreign affairs committee, a small majority believe this time has now arrived, because of Israeli plans for annexation.”