Alexander De Croo
Alexander De CrooReuters

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Monday called for coordinated action within the European Union to impose trade sanctions on Israel, particularly targeting products originating from “Israeli settlements”, i24NEWS reported.

In an interview with a local outlet, De Croo emphasized the urgency of the situation and said, "Can we now simply continue with Israel as a trading partner? I don’t think so."

He highlighted the significant loss of life, including numerous children, during the war in Gaza, asserting that Europeans cannot afford to remain passive bystanders. De Croo also expressed concerns about the potential for regional escalation.

Mentioning the ongoing discussions with other European leaders on the issue, De Croo revealed, "We have been working with other European countries for weeks." He called upon EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to investigate whether Israel violated its association agreement with the EU.

De Croo has been critical of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. The Belgian Prime Minister caused an uproar in November, when he, along with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez held a press conference at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, in which they criticized Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza.

In response, then-Foreign Minister Eli Cohen ordered that the Belgian and Spanish ambassadors to Israel be summoned for reprimands.

In December, De Croo announced that “extremist settlers” will be banned from entering Belgium.

“Violence against civilians will have consequences. Extremist settlers in the West Bank will be banned from entering Belgium,” he wrote on social media at the time.

“We will work with the US on sanctions targeting individuals involved in actions that undermine peace, security, and stability in the West Bank,” added De Croo.