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Will Israel face sanctions?

As we write, Israel shows no signs of letting up its offensive on Palestinian territory Gaza, where already 230 people have been killed. US President Joe Biden told Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he expected “a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire”. But Netanyahu said he was “determined” to continue bombarding Gaza until Israel’s “aim is met”, Al Jazeera reported. Meanwhile, though, it seems the global tide may be slowly turning against Israel. There have been marches and petitions from various countries demanding a ceasefire.

Perhaps more importantly, some companies may be starting to hit Israel where it hurts: in the pocket. The FT reported that in Norway, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund had excluded two Israeli companies “for constructing and letting out buildings in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank”. Here at home, activists have called for President Cyril Ramaphosa – who said in an interview with France24 this week that Israel’s actions could be compared to apartheid in South Africa – to impose sanctions and end trade with Israel. We import R3.4 billion worth of Israeli goods and services each year, including computer software, chemicals and electrical items. The US, despite Biden’s call to Netanyahu, remains a staunch Israeli ally: Biden’s administration has approved the potential sale of $35 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel.  

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates