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Belgian municipality boycotts companies promoting Israeli occupation

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A general view of the City Hall of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Belgium

A Belgian municipality has adopted a motion that prohibits all forms of political, economic and cultural dealings with Israeli institutions and companies promoting the regime’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

The municipal council of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek approved the bill, which “gives a strong signal to politicians in Belgium to stop dealing with Israeli institutions that violate international law and contribute to settlement,” the Middle East Monitor reported.

The motion, reportedly adopted by a large majority earlier this week, is intended to “safeguard human rights and the application of international law in the field of public procurement.”

 Sint-Jans-Molenbeek is the first municipality in Brussels to take such an initiative.

The Palestinian mission to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg welcomed the move in a statement.

“[The decision] constitutes strong political and moral support for the Palestinian people, supporting them in their response to serious violations of international law by the Israeli occupation and Israel’s refusal to comply with all UN resolutions on the Palestinian issue,” said the statement.

The mission also hailed the motion as a “courageous step that reflects the municipality’s solidarity and friendship with the Palestinian people.”

The motion was initially recommended in 2015.

Palestinians walk past a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Israeli settlements. (Photo by AFP)

This comes as international calls are mounting for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement aiming to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause, including scores of Palestinian and international trade unions, NGOs, academic and business societies, as well as cultural figures.

It has also gained support in countries such as Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Romania, South Africa and the United States.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

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