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Israel confirms its new ministers – where are the sanctions?

Israel’s new ministers took up their posts on Sunday, after the country’s 34th government was sworn-in late Thursday. This is a government of extremists, whose ministers back settlements and war crimes, as well as openly express racist incitement towards Palestinians.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We won’t divide Jerusalem, we won’t make concessions, we won’t withdraw from land.”

Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education, Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs

“There is not going to be a Palestinian state within the tiny land of Israel.”

Moshe Ya’alon, Minister of Defense

“The Palestinian threat harbours cancer-like attributes.”

Yuval Steinitz, Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water

“We will not agree to the division of Jerusalem and giving up the Jordan Valley.”

Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Justice

“When your husband the pilot, when he’s up in the air, do you hope he’ll be pounding the Arabs hard with bombs?” *Laughter* “Yes.”

Silvan Shalom, Minister of Interior

“We are all against a Palestinian state, there is no question about it.”

Moshe Kahlon, Minister of Finance

“We should annex all the territories that same day.” (When asked what he thinks Israel should do if the Palestinians unilaterally declare independence).

Uri Ariel, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

“I think that in five years there will be 550,000 or 600,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], rather than 400,000 [now].”

Ze’ev Elkin, Minister of Immigration and Absorption, Strategic Affairs

“There is no place for a Palestinian state, not in temporary borders and not in any other configuration.”

Ophir Akunis, Minister without Portfolio

“I resolutely oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state in the place where our nation was born.”

Danny Danon, Minister of Science, Technology and Space

“We will strengthen the settlements in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].”

Yisrael Katz, Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Minister of Intelligence

“I am opposed to a Palestinian state. It is unacceptable, mainly because of our rights to this land.”

Gila Gamliet, Minister for Gender Equality, Minorities and Young People

“I disagree with the word ‘occupation.’…The Gaza Strip can annex itself to Egypt, some of the Palestinians can annex themselves to Jordan. They have many countries.”

Benny Begin, Minister without Portfolio

“If the two-state solution is the only solution, then there is no solution.”

Haim Katz, Minister of Welfare and Social Services

“The conclusion is clear – not to establish a Palestinian state, for this will become a terror state on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.”

Yariv Levin, Minister of Tourism, Minister of Internal Security

“A clear Israeli law will…show our insistence that we are a Jewish state.”

Miri Regev, Minister of Culture and Sport, Minister of Intelligence

“The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, and not only to the Jews who live in that land.”

Eli Ben-Dahan, Deputy Defense Minister

“[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.”

So will Israel’s allies – especially in Europe – continue with business as usual? When the far-right Freedom Party finished second in Austrian elections in 1999, European Union member states imposed diplomatic sanctions lifted in September 2000. The EU currently list more than 30 countries which are subject to various kinds of “restrictive measures” – or sanctions.

Former European politicians and diplomats recently urged an urgent reassessment of EU policy, insisting Israel must be held to account for its colonisation of Palestinian land. In April, 16 EU foreign ministers called for an EU-wide introduction of guidelines for the correct labelling of settlement products, as well as additional “tougher measures.” In January, 63 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expressed support for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Palestinians, and many civil society groups in Europe, have been calling for these and similar steps for a while. With an Israeli government that unashamedly rejects international norms and Palestinian rights, will Brussels finally take meaningful action and end its complicity in apartheid?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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