Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter, a member of the center-left Groen (Green) party, on Wednesday said “It’s time for sanctions against Israel.”
In a clear sign that both domestic pressure within the United States and international outrage at Israel’s actions in Gaza are having an effect, Israel has apparently agreed to four hour daily “pauses” in the fighting to allow for people to leave northern Gaza and for humanitarian relief.
However, Abdel Hamid Siyam, a Middle East expert at Rutgers University, told Al Jazeera that “Pauses are not a solution,” saying what is needed is a “ceasefire so that humanitarian aid can come in uninterrupted, that foreigners can leave the country, and maybe negotiations cane take place”.
“If this is only a pause to allow people to move from the north to south, it did not work in the past, it will not work in the future,” he said. “In four hours, people cannot come. They don’t have cars, they don’t have fuel. It’s not going to work.”
“There is mounting pressure on Israel now to open up for a real ceasefire, a real truce for a day or two or three. I think that is coming in the next few days,” he said
This comes as international condemnation at Israel’s actions continues to grow.
Eight nations—Bahrain, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, South Africa, and Turkey—have recalled their ambassadors from Israel and Bolivia has completely severed diplomatic ties,
On Wednesday Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter, a member of the center-left Groen (Green) party, said “It’s time for sanctions against Israel.”
“The rain of bombs is inhumane,” she continued. “While war crimes are being committed in Gaza, Israel is ignoring international demands for a cease-fire.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Ione Belarra, the Spanish minister for social rights and leader of the far-left Podemos party also called on the international community to sanction Israel, which she accused of a “planned genocide” of Palestinians in Gaza.
She condemned world leaders for an apparent double standard – saying while human rights abuses in Ukraine have been decried, there is a “deafening silence” on the victims of Israeli bombardment.
Al Jazeera also reported that on Tuesday in the UK shadow minister Imran Hussain quit Labour’s front bench in protest at Starmer’s refusal to heed calls from many in his party to push for an Israeli ceasefire.
About 50 Labour Party councillors, many Muslim, had earlier resigned from party itself over Starmer’s position, with some even calling for him to step down.
Horrifically Al Jazeera noted on Thursday:
At least 39 journalists have been killed in just over one month of Israel’s war on Gaza in what has been described as “the deadliest month for journalists.” That’s more than double the number of fatalities in one and a half years of the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says 39 journalists, 34 of them Palestinian, have been killed since the latest conflict erupted on October 7.
At least four Israelis and a Lebanese journalist are among those who have lost their lives in the war. The Paris-based press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has put the death toll at 41.
Christophe Deloire, RSF’s secretary-general, has described the toll as “shocking,” with the number likely to rise as the group continues to investigate reports of several other journalists either injured or missing.