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9 Apr, 2024 18:03

France suggests sanctions against Israel

The measure would be meant to pressure West Jerusalem to allow more food aid into Gaza
France suggests sanctions against Israel

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne has suggested that pressuring jewish settlers in the West Bank could have have the effect of facilitating humanitarian aid reaching Gaza.

Many of the 2.3 million people in the Palestinian enclave face starvation after six months of Israeli military operations there, the UN has warned.

“There must be levers of influence and there are multiple levers, going up to sanctions, to let humanitarian aid cross check points,” Sejourne told RFI radio and France 24 television on Tuesday. 

“France was one of the first countries to propose EU sanctions on Israeli settlers who are committing acts of violence in the West Bank,” he added. “We will continue, if needed, to obtain the opening of humanitarian aid.”

Paris sanctioned 28 Israeli nationals in February, though the French government has not publicized their names. 

Israel declared war on Gaza last October, after a series of deadly raids by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that killed an estimated 1,200 people. Since then, over 33,000 Palestinians have died in the enclave, according to Gaza authorities.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to allow humanitarian aid deliveries through the Erez checkpoint, which had been closed since the outbreak of hostilities. However, Netanyahu insisted that the measure would be “temporary” and would only allow enough aid in “to prevent a humanitarian crisis.” Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned “scattered measures” and called for a “paradigm shift” in aiding the enclave.

While Sejourne floated the idea of more sanctions, he balked at the idea of recognizing Palestinian statehood, saying it “would not be useful to do so outside of a peace process.” Netanyahu has rejected any Palestinian statehood, arguing it would be a “reward for terrorism.”

Earlier on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron published a joint statement with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The three leaders denounced Israel’s planned attack on the city of Rafah and urged “a massive increase in the provision and distribution of humanitarian aid” to Gaza, where famine is “already setting in.”