JERUSALEM, Israel – Belgium’s parliament on Friday passed a non-binding resolution urging their government to call on the European Union to enact sanctions against Israel if it proceeds with its controversial plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank – biblical Judea and Samaria.
The measure “concerning Israel’s annexation of occupied territories in Palestine,” passed overwhelmingly in the Chamber of Representatives with 101 affirmative votes, 39 abstentions, and zero votes against it.
The resolution asks the government to “play a leading role in the European and multilateral levels for the creation of a list of effective countermeasures, which are a response to any Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinians area.”
These countermeasures include sanctions, or “economic restrictions,” imposed on Israel by the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union.
The body was also supposed to vote on a motion calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state, but this was delayed.
The EU has already expressed its concern over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex 132 Jewish settlements in the West Bank including the Jordan Valley as early as July 1.
More than 1,000 European lawmakers across the political spectrum issued a letter on Wednesday voicing opposition to Netanyahu’s plans.
"We are profoundly concerned about the impact of annexation on the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, as well as its destabilising potential in a region on our continent's doorstep,” the letter reads.
Over 1,000 European MPs reject annexation and the Trump Plan and demand that it "must not pass unchallenged."
I am proud to have initiated this together with @Avrumburg, @NaomiChazan, and @1benyair.
Full text and list of signatories below: pic.twitter.com/yxaCaBpzch
— זהבה גלאון (@zehavagalon) June 24, 2020
Although the EU opposes Israel’s goal to annex approximately 30 percent of the West Bank, it has not threatened sanctions against the Jewish State. The EU requires consensus among all 27 states to apply sanctions against Israel and Hungary and Austria are expected to veto such a measure.
Israel’s ambassador to Belgium Emmanual Nahshon told The Times of Israel that, “Instead of applying undue pressure on Israel, Belgium should encourage the Palestinians to cease with their persistent refusal and return to negotiations.”
Israel is also still waiting to hear back from the White House to see if Washington will support its annexation plans. President Donald Trump’s senior advisors held talks this week about the move, but a senior White House official said Thursday that the administration has not made a final decision after talks. Israel is not expected to move forward without the Trump administration’s approval.